[JPL] Chet Baker AAJ Article

Bill Barton seekandlisten at gmail.com
Sun Oct 19 05:32:17 EDT 2008


This article sells Baker short in my opinion.

"His recordings are immediately accessible and completely digested, and
therefore, understandable."

What?  Completely digested?  Curious choice of words...

"Baker is never flashy or dissonant. He proves to be quite the
traditionalist when approaching a melody and then improvising on it. This is
what makes Baker so readily listenable where a true trend-setter like John
Coltrane presents music (particularly on his late-period Impulse! releases)
too challenging for pedestrian listening."

Sorry, but we're in the 21st Century now and this neo-con party-line
dismissal of late-period Coltrane as "difficult listening" just doesn't cut
it.  The old comparing apples to oranges cliche applies here.  Pedestrian
listening?  So the writer's selling point for Baker is that his playing and
singing is dandy for pedestrian listening?  What nonsense!  I'd suggest that
the writer of this article hasn't really listened to any of the almost
heartbreakingly intense ballad performances that Baker recorded over the
years.  "Pedestrian" is one of the last words that springs to mind.  "Once
Upon A Summertime" might be a good place to start...


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