(previous working title Chet Baker: The Later Years)
In this short excerpt from the upcoming 2nd volume of memoirs by bop drummer Artt Frank, he offers an insight into the virtuosity of Chet Baker’s style.
“Ready?” Chet asked, and called out to us and counted off the tune, “I Remember You,” in a medium up-tempo, and sang a chorus while Sal (Nistico) stood off to the side listening with a look of admiration on his face. Chet finished singing and just sat there, eyes closed, left leg crossed over the right, with his head resting on the hand holding the trumpet, listening and drinking up every note that Sal was laying down. We did another six to eight tunes and took our first break.
Chet would often get requests from his fans to play a tune he’d played the night before or even two sets ago. And each time he would phrase the melody differently. Chet had a ‘never repeat clause’ in his performance philosophy. Being a ‘total ear’ player, he could play the same tune ten times in a row and each time it would be completely different from the one before.”
Listen to the track, recorded live from the Renaissance II Club in Buffalo, NY Chet Baker (Vocals and Trumpet); Sal Nistico (Tenor sax); Lorne Lofsky (Guitar); Chris Conners (Bass); and Artt Frank (Drums), Nov. 11, 1984