Q - 3/00, p.1163 stars out of 5
- "...features Baker in reasonable form providing his fill of lyrical horn on the small-group session..."
Personnel: Chet Baker (trumpet); Clauco Masetti (alto saxophone); Gianno Basso (tenor saxophone); Renato Sellani (piano); Franco Serri (bass); Gene Victory (drums).
Recorded in Milan, Italy in October 1959. Originally released on Jazzland (18). Includes original liner notes by Peter Drew.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1989, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
You would never know this set was recorded entirely in Italy with Italian jazz musicians supporting Chet Baker if you didn't read the liner notes. Indeed, it sounds as if Baker gathered with his usual West Coast gang on some sunny California afternoon to swing through some cool tunes. Yet, considering that American jazz has always been so widely admired in Europe since its introduction in the early days of the swing era, it is not surprising that these foreign musicians would expertly pick up the language and communicate it with the utmost articulation.
For Baker, it was surely a treat to be able to stop briefly during his travels through Europe and record these sides with such accomplished players who knew and admired his music so well. As a result, great standards like "Lady Bird," "Tune Up," "Pent Up House," and "My Old Flame" flow effortlessly out of Baker's horn in a quintessential display of his "cool" style. Listeners should take this session like a welcomed postcard from a friend abroad; everything is fine, wish you were here.