Jazz Icons: Chet Baker features two concerts by the foremost interpreter of the West Coast school of cool jazz. Filmed in Europe 15 years apart, these two shows seen together provide an overview of Baker¬?s illustrious c... more »areer. The fi rst show is a haunting 1964 performance in a Belgian TV studio with a quartet including long-time sidemen saxophonist Jacques Pelzer and French pianist Rene Urtreger. Songs include the Miles Davis classic, ¬"So What,¬" and the jazz standard ¬"Time After Time¬" (a very rare rendition featuring Chet¬?s ¬"Cool¬" vocal style.) The soulful 1979 set from Norway, with a trio featuring vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid, highlights the growth and maturity of this troubled but inspiring artist.« less
Actor:Chet Baker Genres:Music Video & Concerts Sub-Genres:Pop, Jazz Studio:Tdk DVD Video Format:DVD - Color DVD Release Date: 09/26/2006 Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1979 Release Year: 2006 Run Time: 1hr 11min Screens: Color Number of Discs: 1 SwapaDVD Credits: 1 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 4 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 11/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD features two short concerts by star-crossed jazz legend, trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker, each set bookending a rough phase in his career. Baker, who was a pioneer and leading exponent of the West Coast "cool" jazz style, led a troubled life, made worse by chronic drug addiction and run-ins with the law... In the early 1960s, he was living in Europe (partly to avoid legal hassles in the U.S., partly because the Europeans adored him...) In 1966, after returning to the States, a down-and-out Baker was severely beaten on the streets of San Francisco, and had to stop performing for several years, slowly making a comeback in the 1970s and '80s.
The first set on this disc comes from a 1964 concert in Belgium where Baker is backed by saxophonist Jacques Pelzer, with whom he seems to have a lot of sympathetic musical inclinations -- despite his drug habit, Baker seems quite robust and still has his hunky youthful good look (he was a babe) and clearly towers over his European sidemen in terms of musical prowess. That imbalance continues in the later set, a stunning set from 1979, with German vibrophonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid and a loose-limbed, longhaired European ensemble that settles into Chet's mellow vibe with greater ease than their '60s counterparts did in the first half of the DVD. Baker looks totally trashed, but also battled-hardened and tough as leather -- a near-skeletal Nick Nolte comes to mind -- and at least a good dozen years older than his actual age. But, oh! does he sound sweet! After spending a decade rebuilding his career, Baker burns with intensity and purpose, and while he has delved into the light-funk stylishness of the '70s jazz-fusion sound, his work is, if anything, more lyrical and accomplished than his classic recordings of the '50 and '60s, oozing out a hard-won soulfulness and hidebound beauty. Lackerschmid is an able collaborator, providing sensitive backing, as well as a fine original tune, "Five Years Ago," which has a gorgeous chamber-jazz complexity and harmonic richness to it; the set closes with an extended jam, on "Love For Sale," in which Baker plays more aggressively than many folks might expect -- he's still laid-back, but man, is he intense.
The 'Seventies set is the real find of this release -- the first concert provides a good contrast, but Baker's heart is clearly more into it in '79; success is much further away than it was in '64, and he is a much hungrier and wiser performer. In a pre-show interview, added on the disc as well, Baker offers up his appreciation for modern fusion players such as Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Michael Brecker; when asked about his own future efforts, Baker preciently repies, "I'll be lucky if I can milk this for another ten years..." And indeed, Baker passed away in 1988, all too young, but having left a beautiful memory. Fans will dig this long-overdue archival release."
The best Chet Baker DVD I own
BluesFan | High desert Arizona | 10/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains two Chet Baker shows: the first being a Belgian TV broadcast from 1964 and the second a pro-shot from his 1979 appearance at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival. The 1964 TV show is my favorite of the two. In it he is joined by longtime musical associates Jacques Pelzer and Rene Urtreger (whose piano work is awesome) in a quintet format. The video and audio quality is quite simply mind-blowing considering the age of the source material. And Chet's performance (on flugelhorn, no less) is outstanding. His take on Miles Davis' "So What" is pure magic. This set is what "cool jazz" was all about. The 1979 show (in outstanding colour) is excellent and finds him in a quartet consisting of bass, piano and vibraphone. The standout from this set is the lengthy take on Cole Porter's "Love For Sale", which should dispel any thoughts you might have that he didn't have "it" anymore by this point in his life. The packaging is lovely and Rob Bowman's liner notes are excellent. Chet on DVD doesn't get any better than this.
I have been watching this DVD series on a 46" Sony Bravia LCD flat screen (sound through Audioquest interconnects to a Creek Classic 5350 SE amp to Audioquest speaker cables to Harbeth 7ES-3 speakers). I have been knocked out by each and every one of them. The video aspect is outstanding, with great clarity, resolution and contrast. The audio is likewise knockout - great clarity and resolution, with excellent dynamic range.
Honesty requires that I tell you that these DVDs are sourced from old film and TV broadcasts, so they are not going to be to modern studio standards - there is only so much that can be done with these sources. That said, I am absolutely floored by what Jazz Icons has been able to do with them. It's not clear from the liner notes (which are excellent by the way) who actually did the transfers and mastering, but they deserve both an Oscar and a Grammy for their hard work and obsessive dedication to quality.
Jazz Icons is THE benchmark for jazz DVDs, the standard by which all others will be judged. "
Top Sound Quality Too
Kevin J. Roberts | 01/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of the DVDs in this series have LPCM soundtracks, which are the best sound quality available, not the compressed sound that is on almost all DVDs (if you knew how compressed the 5.1 surround sound is on most DVDs, you'd never listen again). All have great books too. By the way, the reviewer who says there is a "long-held critical opinion that Chet was all hype and no substance" shouldn't bother paying attention to "critical opinion". Follow your own ears."
One of my all time favorite music dvds!!
Carson Lattimore | Portland, OR United States | 11/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The music, the sound quality, and the film footage are all great; a real find! The sound is mono, but Chet's tone is so good it doesn't matter. Also included is a great biography of Chet. It really deepened my appreciation for Chet Baker! A "must have" for any jazz video collection!"
Dean R. Brierly | Studio City, CA | 10/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chet Baker was many things: trumpeter, singer, junkie, icon. But the most important label, and the only one that really matters, is artist. Baker was one of the few musicians who could break your heart every time you listened to him play. His buttery tone and beautiful phrasing exemplified the best of the West Coast school of jazz. Baker's compelling talent and charismatic presence is shown to its fullest in this superb Jazz Icons DVD, which presents the late trumpeter in two performance settings filmed 15 years apart. Leading off is a 1964 Belgian television special that finds him in the company of several leading European musicians: French pianist Rene Urtreger, Belgian saxophonist Jacques Pelzer, and an Italian rhythm section comprised of bassist Luigi Trussardi and drummer Franco Manzecchi. The softly lit studio space enhances the intimate, after-hours ambience as Baker and his group tear through spirited versions of "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Airegin," explore the emotional terrain of "Isn't it Romantic" and "Time After Time," and finish up with an all-too-brief, oh-so-cool version of the Miles Davis classic "So What." The high point of the set is Baker's vocal on the ballad "Time After Time." His singing, like his trumpet playing, was simple, pure and unforgettable. Every note seemed to channel all the pain and frustration of his personal life. By the time of this 1979 Norway concert performance, Baker's once angelic features had eroded and hardened due to the ravages of dope and time, yet he still played with a lyricism that put Gabriel and his trumpet to shame. In fact, his playing had more depth and texture than ever. Baker seems inspired and energized by his band of young, forward-looking musicians--pianist Michel Graillier, bassist Jean Louis Rassinfosse and vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid. The trumpeter's hauntingly beautiful solos blend seamlessly with the slightly more out improvisations of the youngsters. Calmly seated at the front of the stage, Baker spins out a seemingly inexhaustible flow of inspired phrases as he works through familiar favorites like "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" and "Love for Sale," as well as an intriguing original by Lackerschmid that takes jazz into chamber music territory. Watching this precious archival footage is like experiencing a musical clinic in dynamics, swing and emotion. Or, to sum it up in a single word, artistry."