Friday, September 30, 2011

Chet Baker's Musical Candy

Companion to the DVD of Zoot Sims "In a Sentimental Mood," MVD Visual has released in the US the Gazell Records DVD of Chet Baker, "Candy." Like the Sims video it is an intimate trio recording that finds the trumpeter in the library of Sonet Records in Lidingo, Sweden. Sims is backed ,by pianist Michel Graillier and bassist Jean Louis Raissinfosse with one duet with bassist Red Mitchell. Mitchell, was resident in Stockholm at the time, also conducts a brief interview with him.

Performances are introduced by the song-titles and the CD opens with Baker taking the vocal on Candy, before his trumpet solo. While by the time this was recorded, Baker's James Dean-like looks had a weathered look, certainly the visual appeal of him is still apparent as is the genial melodicism of his approach. Bassist Raissenfosse sets the tone on his 5-string electric upright bass providing a bass line to anchor the performance of Love For Sale, with more lyrical playing from Baker and some nice piano by Graillier. It's followed by a lively version of Bud Powell's Tempus Fugue-It, and the bluesy late-night feel of Sad Walk.

The trio portion concludes with a nice Red's Blues with some nice playing by all, Miles Davis's Nardis, with a slight exotic flavor and the standard Bye Bye Blackbird, which of course many know from Miles' classic recording. Baker's playing is suggestive of Miles and like Miles he focused on painting a mood rather than exhibit fleet technical facility, and his vocals similarly inhabited a narrow range but had such an expressive quality to them. One can't overlook pianist Graillier who turns in a nice blues solo on Red's Blues, or Raissinfosse's firm playing throughout.

Mitchell and Baker are seen at a piano when Mitchell mentions that he was able to work out on piano some chords in playing My Romance, and Baker stating it was among the first songs he recorded before the two of them play a duet of it with Mitchell playing piano. It is a fine way to end this engaging DVD.

I received a review copy from MVD Video.

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