Chet Baker: Germany, 1956 - JazzWax

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April 20, 2012


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Those recordings are the most obscure, but they belong in my opinion to the very best in Caterina Valente's career.

I have to disagree with the above statement about Caterina's intonation & warmth. Well, they both should've made a whole album together, not only two tracks.

I love this intimate duet; and it sounds not exactly like a "mismatch." But, maybe I'm deaf?

Larry Kart

I agree with Brew -- Catrina was a swinger. Years later (probably the late 1970s) I reviewed Catrina when she appeared at a largish Chicago-area concert room, the Golf-Mill Theater (she was the opening act for Don Rickles or some such figure). She was startlingly good and very jazz-like; brought her own drummer to join the theater's excellent orchestra (e.g. lead trumpeter was John Howell), and her drummer not only was excellent, too, but also very much in the mold of Philly Joe Jones!

Dave James

Gotta agree with Marc on this one. On "April", I really don't like the way she pushes the tempo. Not crazy about her voice on either recording. She sounds like she's mailing it in.


I disagree as well. Caterina Valente was a perfect vocalist and had dozens of no 1 hits all around Europe.

Steve Barrow

I have to say I'm 100% with Marc - it is a mismatch. Her phrasing is too 'straight' for me on 'April'. On 'Everytime' she's a bit better, but for me she doesn't have a real jazz conception. Don't like her vibrato at the end of long lines either. It's all personal taste I guess.

Bill Kirchner

According to Gene Lees, Valente was earwitness to Chet's legendary "condolence" to pianist Romano Mussolini (son of Il Duce): "Gee, sorry about your old man!"

Minhquan Nguyen

I agree with Marc. Valente sounds like she's just going off the sheet music, with little character, swing, or warmth. It's not a terrible track by any means, but it's certainly not memorable.

Denis Ouellet

Three for, three against and one undecided.
I break the tie, I find them great.
Love her voice and of course Chet is always
good in my book.

Jery Rowan

It definitely was a mismatch -- but in styles only. And the guitar tremolo didn't do much to enhance Chet's breathy phrasing, either.

However, it's my opinion there was nothing wrong with Valente's intonation. She sang in tune and was obviously a fine artist. It's just that her bag ain't Chet's bag and the two didn't mesh.

A musical experiment that didn't work out. It happens.

Matthew Ruddick

I'm not a big fan of this recording session either. Marc identifies the recording session as having taken place in Baden Baden in Germany in March 1956. As far as I can tell, this is incorrect - I think it took place after a gig in Stuttgart in October 1955 - after she joined a gig with the Chet Baker Quartet. Her manager recalled that pianist Dick Twardzik was particularly dismissive of the idea of recording with her. You can read the full story in my new Chet bio - Funny Valentine: The Story of Chet Baker

Alireza Sadreddini

My apology for humble question , who is holding the right for Chet [Germany] album of Chet Baker?
I am about to use one of tracks in my short film and need to clear the rights of the music, thanks for any good advise.

All the best,

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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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