Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chet Baker - Career: 1952 - 1988 (2005)

Career: 1952 - 1988 does an excellent job of showcasing all facets and time periods of Chet Baker’s career. This retrospective evenly divides the the two talents Baker was known for: one disc is entirely instrumental and is called Trumpeter and the other is simply titled Singer. Each disc is in chronological order and includes both rarities and some gems. There are both vocal and instrumental versions of his famous "My Funny Valentine."

Trumpeter shows off Baker's versatility as a prominent member of the cool jazz movement of the 50s and 60s and beyond. While he was less known and respected for his singing the second disc also provides a true overview of Baker’s controversial but still appealing voice. The vocal disc is also a bit sad because, using his voice as a barometer, the listener can tell how far Baker's health deteriorated over the four decades of his career.

There is an exhaustive forty-six page booklet included with Career that offers almost everything a fan would need or want to know about the singer and trumpeter. Baker’s often sad life, mostly fueled by his addictions, is openly discussed. It is sad to know, as is true with many talented artists, that Baker could still be with us today if he hadn’t succumbed to those hideous excesses before he was sixty years old.

Career: 1952 -1988 will appeal to Baker’s fans and will also serve as an excellent detailed introduction to the life and music of this very talented jazzman.


  1. Hi Charlie,

    Good to see you're still doing the interesting reviews. Sorry I haven't been around, but I'm back in the blogging world and will start visiting again


  2. Nice review. Some folks consider Chris Botti to be a modern day Chet Baker.