Chet Baker In Milan
During his extended "stay" in Europe circa the late '50s and early '60s, Chet Baker produced half a dozen albums for the Riverside Records subsidiary label Jazzland. On Chet Baker in Milan -- the first of his overseas sides -- Baker revisits the familiar stomping grounds of West Coast cool, even though he is the only American in the band. The basic quartet includes Chet Baker (trumpet), Renato Sellani (piano), Franco Serri (bass), and Gene Victory (drums). However, on a majority of the cuts, that unit is upgraded to a sextet with sax players Glauco Masetti (alto) and Gianno Basso (tenor). According to Peter Drew's brief liner notes essay, these Italian players were found by a local record label and arrangements were essentially retrofitted to suit Baker. Although somewhat haphazardly congregated, this band aptly supports Baker's cool and flowing solos, as well as providing swinging interpretations of familiar American bop anthems such as Miles Davis' "Tune Up" and Charlie "Bird" Parker's "Cheryl Blues." Baker even revisits a few old haunts, such as "Look for the Silver Lining" and "Line for Lyons" (a side he originally cut with the song's author, Gerry Mulligan). If the adage that claims music as the universal language was never proven before, it certainly becomes obvious here. The Italian musicians are intimately familiar with the decidedly American art form of jazz, so much so that the accompanying sax solos are often rendered with more fluidity than Baker's own trumpet leads. The lack of recognizable names should not dissuade fans of West Coast cool jazz from seeking a copy of Chet Baker in Milan, as the album capturers all of what is vibrant about the genre. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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