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Bluebird Reissues ’62 Classics

In case you hadn’t already seen them on store shelves, we thought we’d hip you to a couple of recent releases from the reissue-happy Bluebird: Two of a Mind by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan and Chet Is Back! by the Chet Baker Sextet. Both records date from 1962 and each disc has been outfitted with bonus material.

Originally released as a Desmond date, Two of a Mind was one of RCA’s best selling discs in the ’60s. The issuing of the album under Desmond’s name was due to contractual reasons. Mulligan and Desmond are on every track, but the rhythm section changes. Sometimes it’s bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Connie Kay, sometimes it’s bassist Joe Benjamin and drummer Mel Lewis, and sometimes it’s Benjamin and Kay. The five previously unreleased tracks are “Easy Living,” two alternate versions of Jerome Kern’s “The Way You Look Tonight” and a couple of blue waltzes from another session with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist John Beal and drummer Ed Shaughnessy.

Baker entered the studio to record Chet Is Back! three weeks after release from an Italian jail, where he’d been placed following a drug conviction. It was recorded in Rome for RCA Italiana and was the only date Baker ever did for the label (RCA owns Bluebird). He rallied a band of Europeans for this one-guitarist Rene Thomas, reedist Bobby Jaspar, bassist Benoit Quersin, drummer Daniel Humair and pianist Amedeo-and focused on bebop rather than his usual cool, playing tunes like Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” and Bird’s “Barbados.” The four bonus tracks feature Baker crooning along to a full orchestra conducted by Ennio Morricone and have never been released outside of Italy until now.

Originally Published