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Music: One Night in Tokyo by Chet Baker

Although Miles Davis’ masterpiece “Kind of Blue” might be the most listened to jazz album of all time-and it deserves to be-jazz fans should take note that Chet Baker “One Night in Tokyo” more than holds its own as far as musical quality and inventiveness are concerned. To add to the intrigue, Miles, Evans, Coltrane, Adderley, et.al., were at their musical peaks when “Blue” was recorded.

Chet, on the other hand, because of his unpredictability brought about by his much chronicled addiction, was considered by many critics to be a couple of decades past his peak . Yet, on that magical night in Tokyo, with dentures firmly in place, the jazz icon displayed incredible technique, ideas and control on such challenging tunes as “Seven Steps to Heaven,” and “Four.”

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“Almost Blue” is a song by Elvis Costello (Declan Patrick MacManus) that appears on his 1982 album Imperial Bedroom. This song was also performed by Chet Baker and appears on the album Chet Baker In Tokyo (1987) one of my favorite songs when I’m relaxing and smoking a cigar.  The groove is epic and surprisingly Chet Baker voice just enhances my relaxation. I would recommend every cigar lover try some of his music, your guaranteed to enjoy his smooth style and melodies.

With the masterful support of a rhythm ensemble reminiscent of the best of trios that painted a special satisfying texture to the Stan Getz and Miles Davis groups, Baker played the most exciting rendition of “My Funny Valentine” that I’ve ever heard from Chet or anyone else.

Perhaps most surprising for a musician not known for his range and technical dexterity, Baker’s flurry of perfect notes formed a magnificent weave of spellbinding phrases. Solos by the swinging and lyrical Harold Danko on piano paced by the highly inventive bassist, Hein Van Der Geyn, and a Tony Williams like performance by drummer, John Engels, made the moments when Chet wasn’t performing so pleasing and captivating to this listener that, at times, I nearly forgot that Chet was the headliner.

Although a drug-addled mess towards the end of his life, musically this recording finds him in top form on horn and vocals. It’s ironic how someone with such a warm tone could be so definitively associated with cool jazz.

Buy CD Online: One Night in Tokyo

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