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June 1997

Chet Baker
I Remember You; The Legacy, Volume 2
Enja Records

Recorded in Copenhagen in 1985, this live performance features Baker, as well as capable support from guitarist Doug Raney, bassist Jesper Lundgaard, and drummer Aage Tanggaard. In the somewhat negative category, the recording is uneven and Baker plays piano (making Monk seem like a virtuoso) and sings (regardless of how you feel about his singing, the man could scat). But all of those get outweighed when he picks up his trumpet and begins assembling delicate, airy tones into sublimely melodic phrases that reflect the essence of Chet Baker the musician. The five extended performances by and large feature standards. He renders "Broken Wing," the set's only ballad, in his typically understated, lyrical fashion. And on "Nardis" he builds his solo carefully, beautifully setting up a series of choruses by Raney that Baker eventually graces with a sparse counter melody. Despite the rough edges, I Remember You provides an intimate look at one of jazz's true originals.

Originally published in June 1997
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