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Chet Is Back Original recording remastered, Import


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Import, January 15, 2013
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 15, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: Essential Jazz Class
  • ASIN: B00AKV1OOU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,324 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
Guitarist Rene Thomas is particularly worth the listener's attention.
Collin Sherman
The surprise of this part of the recording is the great ten minutes of "Ballata in Forma di Blues" by Amadeo Tommasi, the piano player of the studio bunch.
William E. Adams
In addition to Baker, Bobby Jaspar is another of my favorite musicians.
Mike Tarrani

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
In 1959, following a string of drug busts in the United States, troubled trumpeter Chet Baker split for Italy... where he promptly got arrested for some pill-related scam, and started up his same self-destructive patterns. But while Baker was having a hard time finding collaborators to work with back in the States, in Italy he was still lauded as a groundbreaking, idealized romantic player, and landed a sweet contract with the Italian branch of RCA Records. These sessions, cut in early 1962 with various European sidemen (after his release from prison), are mainly competent, bop-flavored instrumentals, a notable change of pace from his usual penchant for ballads and softer material. The real draw on this CD reissue are a quartet of bonus tracks cut with a young Italian named Ennio Morricone as the house arranger. As Baker croons softly in Italian, there's a hint of Morricone's future lavish, expansive style, and the two meld quite nicely. Worth checking out, even if it's not the most sublime material Baker ever recorded.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Collin Sherman on January 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the best Chet Baker albums I've ever heard, though it may be a bit of a disappointment for casual Baker fans. Chet made a name for himself in the 50s recording west coast jazz with a very particular sound - mellow, intimate, melodic, and pretty. Most of his 50s music was not, however, reminiscent of his hard-driving, bluesy east coast counterparts. Many jazz writers pegged Chet as a mediocre Miles Davis impersonator, with a pretty tone, but no real chops. In the 60s, perhaps to dispel such notions, Chet expanded his repertoire into a more bop-oriented catalogue; generally with mixed results. However, with "Chet is Back!", any perception of Chet as being an unemotional Miles imitator with no chops must be thrown out the window. Chet absolutely shines on this album - he shows that he can play quite well outside the middle register, and proves that he is a creative, and (most importantly) confident player. The fact that his Italian sidemen prove to be utterly outstanding doesn't hurt the album either. Guitarist Rene Thomas is particularly worth the listener's attention. This is not the Chet Baker of the 1950s, recreating the sound he had with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet. This is fast, exciting music. Even on the ballads, "These Foolish Things," "Star Eyes," and "Over the Rainbow," the group's energy never drops for a moment. For those who want to see how versatile Chet can really be, this album should be first on your list.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on September 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is my fourth Chet Baker CD, and I'll probably play this one more than any of the others, mainly because it is so uptempo and fun. Chet tended to be sweet and mellow and slow, and could do ballads almost to a fault. The first eight instrumentals on here comprise the original 1962 LP, recorded in Rome with a handful of European sidemen who all sound like fine musicians to my admittedly unknowledgeable ears. Chet had been having a bad time, jailed for drugs in late 1961, and he needed the dough this RCA one-day studio assignment dangled. I think he earned it. I have no idea how many sales this release racked up in Europe, or later in the states, but hearing it for the first time 40 years later, I just love it. Chet and his friends do a Monk tune, a Charlie Parker song, a Sonny Rollins composition, a blues written by Oscar Pettiford, and a pair of classic American standards. All well. The surprise of this part of the recording is the great ten minutes of "Ballata in Forma di Blues" by Amadeo Tommasi, the piano player of the studio bunch. Mighty nice piece. Less interesting are the bonus tracks: four tunes Chet sketched out while in jail. Italian lyrics were put to them by Alessandro Maffei, whose day job was court stenographer. He had done the transcript of Chet's trial the previous year, but his heart was in jazz, and he founded a magazine to indulge his passion. The songs are pretty, and Chet is in good voice, but us non-Italian speakers are a little left out during these 17 minutes. Ennio Morricone, soon after to become a famous composer of film scores, led a big band for the one day vocal recordings, laid down a little later in the year. For Chet fans, I think this Bluebird reissue is a must-have. For those wanting an introduction to his playing, it is a good first choice.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on November 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Chet Baker was a man and a musician whose star shone before I was musically aware and by the time I became interested in jazz, he had become a drug-addled shadow of his former self. So, at the time I did not pay much attention to him as most of my contemporaries considered him a has-been and were listening mostly to the jazz-fusion that had come into vogue. Today, my musical horizons are wide and deep and so I am interested not only in contemporary artists, but in those who brought music to where it is today.

Chet Baker is one of those artists whose catalogue is so vast, and his influence so far-reaching, that his career is deserving of a retrospective listen. I own several Baker CDs, with Chet Is Back! being my latest acquisition.

I picked this up on the recommendation of a number of reviews I had read and eagerly put it in the CD player when it arrived. Since I have only a few other Baker recordings, I had no preconceived expectations of how it should sound (cool vs hard bop), and so was able to approach it with fresh ears and an open mind.

Overall, I like Chet Is Back! a lot. My favorites are the peppier tunes on which Baker displays his virtuosity like Well, You Needn't, Barbados, Star Eyes and a couple of other tunes where Baker's ensemble really lets loose.

The bonus cuts, which feature Baker singing in Italian, take a star from the CD. Baker's singing is lifeless and adds nothing to the songs which would have been better off left as instrumentals. But perhaps they are important in that we can hear the style heretofore unreleased in the US that seemed to captivate his Italian audience at the time.

Amazon has a habit of rating too many recordings as essential. With a canon as vast as Baker's, it is likely hard to choose which of his recordings are truly essential and which of them are merely good. I would rate this CD as very good, but not necessarily essential unless you are a Baker completeist.
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