Reviews / All Music Guide

by Adam Greenburg, All Music Guide

A quick sophomore release following the previous year’s Baker Sings Chet, Monologue is another chance for jazz singer Jeff Baker to come out of his Idahoan hiding place. The songs vary a good deal more than the Chet Baker repertoire of his debut, and provide a larger palette for him to work with. As such, there’s a greater spectrum of sound as a result. Baker holds on to a melancholy tune quite well, opening the album with a couple of such numbers. Other pieces demand a slightly faster, more jumping approach. Baker doesn’t disappoint, but his seemingly Hartman-inspired delivery tends to lag behind the tune a bit. He’s got a careful approach to the vocals of a given song, which works to present the slow standards as nurtured, crafted works. At the same time however, those with a quicker pulse seem to get away from him a bit. Baker’s voice is the star of the show, despite good shows from the backing band as a whole, with special note going to pianist Bill Anschell and Brent Jensen, both of whom take extended solos at leisure. For those curious about Baker’s rising abilities, Baker Sings Chet may prove a better introductory album. This one will be a nice addition for those who enjoyed the debut.

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