Chet Baker – But Not For Me

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Track Listing:
1. Lament - 6:54   2. Four - 4:36   3. Line for Lyons - 6:32   4. Ellen and David - 8:35   5. But Not for Me - 6:25   6. Prayer for the Newborn - 7:54

Chet Baker (trumpet, vocals) , Kenny Barron (piano) , Charlie Haden (bass) , Ben Riley (drums) , James Newton (flute) , Howard Johnson (tuba)


1. AllMusic - Ken Dryden
This 1994 CD, released some six years following the death of Chet Baker, is a major addition to his discography. The trumpeter, who seemed to go into the studio almost obsessively during the last dozen years of his life, is heard in what seems to be a well thought out session with an impressive cast. The rhythm section of Kenny Barron, Charlie Haden, and Ben Riley ranks as one of the best that ever accompanied Baker, resulting in some very inspired playing all around. Flautist James Newton is added for the gorgeous "Lament" (a reworking of the old spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" and not the J. J. Johnson composition of the same name). The imaginative take of Miles Davis' "Four" begins with just Haden accompanying Baker's vocal, before tuba player Howard Johnson takes Baker's place, with the leader eventually adding his trumpet to what finally becomes a trio. Johnson's tuba also makes an interesting substitute for Gerry Mulligan's baritone sax in the original recording of "Line for Lyons," though it's impossible for him to achieve the lyricism of its composer in his famous recording; Barron also sits out this number. Baker takes to Haden's moody "Ellen David" like it was a part of his regular repertoire. A snappy arrangement of Gershwin's "But Not for Me" is followed by the intriguing "Prayer for the Newborn," a fairly modern ballad penned by Dennis Luxion. It's a shame that Barron and Haden didn't have more opportunities to record with Chet Baker, as the results within this release show a considerable chemistry between them. Out of print since the demise of Stash in the mid-1990s, this very unusual session is worth the intense search likely required to obtain it.

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