Chet Baker: Sesjun Radio Shows - JazzWax

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November 29, 2010


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There have indeed been many extremely "sub-par" recordings from Baker's later years, but there are some other excellent ones as well. The concert that he recorded in 1988 with the NDR Big Band, just days before his death, is one of his best (ENJA: "My Funny Valentine"/"Straight From the Heart"). Another outstanding two volume live recording from 1987 was released on Evidence as "Chet Baker in Tokyo." Also very fine is one taken from two live trio dates in 1985 with Catherine: "Chet's Choice" on Criss Cross.


Apparently this is the first in a series of Susjun broadcasts to be released, with others to come including Getz, Evans, etc.

Bill Kirchner

I heard Chet live 5-6 times in the '70s and '80s, and he was always memorable. Harold Danko was one of his most frequent and empathetic partners; the video "Chet Baker in Tokyo" (with Danko, bassist Hein van de Geyn, and drummer John Engels) is a must-see/hear.

Chet also had a short-lived quintet in the mid-'80s with tenor saxophonist Sal Nistico (another doomed soul), pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Dennis Irwin, and drummer Leo Mitchell. I heard them one night at Struggle's in Edgewater, NJ, and it was a shame that the group didn't last longer. Chet was playing a flugelhorn borrowed from Joe Shepley, and they were doing to perfection all the obscure bop tunes that Chet loved to play.

Paul Wood

Pretty, pretty stuff indeed.

Denis Ouellet

Hey Bill,

That must have been quite a band. Chet with Sal. I wish they had recorded together ????



Actually there is a live recording of Chet and Sal from 1984. It was paired with a 1966 reunion with Phil Urso on a King Jazz release "'round midnight." There's also an excellent date with Phil Markowitz called "Broken Wing" on the Gitanes "Jazz in Paris" series.

Denis Ouellet

Thanks David.
Will look those up

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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