Personnel: Chet Baker (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn); Herbie Mann (flute, tenor saxophone); Zoot Sims (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Glauco Masetti (alto saxophone); George Coleman (tenor saxophone); Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Bob Corwin, Kenny Drew, Kirk Lightsey, Al Haig, Renato Sellani, Bill Evans (piano); Chico Hamilton, Clifford Jarvis, Connie Kay, Gene Victory, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Brooks (drums).
Recording information: Black Hawk, San Francisco, CA (09/1952-08/1965); Milan, Italy (09/1952-08/1965); New York, NY (09/1952-08/1965); Reeves Sound Studios, New York, NY (09/1952-08/1965); Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (09/1952-08/1965).
Arranger: Giulio Libano.
It's no secret that trumpeter (and sometime vocalist) Chet Baker excelled on ballads, so ESSENTIAL STANDARDS, a collection of late-'50s/early-'60s performances for the Riverside label, is pretty much a sure bet for those wishing an entry into the cool-jazz icon's vast body of work. The Riverside dates all vary in personnel--some are small combos, as on CHET, some are accompanied by big band or strings, etc. STANDARDS selects generously from all these dates, and even includes a rare early Mulligan-Baker quartet live version of "My Funny Valentine" from 1952 (sans vocals). Luckily, several Baker vocal selections are included here, mainly from the all-singing IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU session. Signature tunes such as "Everything Happens To Me" and an eerie "Angel Eyes" from 50 ITALIAN STRINGS are among the highlights.