by Butch Berman, Berman Music Review
You can’t deny that perks still play a big roll in the entertainment biz. The once revered 45 rpm record gave way to LPs and then CDs. Now CDs are almost the calling/business card of today. The Web, home CD burners and the whole music-buying scene is such a different ballgame that the once traditional is now merely passÈ.
Thank God, still occasionally tucked away in this marketing maze of hopes and dreams are some very talented people that just wanna start something, somewhere.
Being on the OriginArts and OA2 Records catalog mailing list is a major perk for me. They’ve become an extremely tasteful, prolific pair of record companies that just keep expanding in size, without shrinking in quality. It’s the Northwest’s main music machine around, and you just can’t beat the incredible player-production staff trio known as New Stories.
Hence, this product at hand. Mr. Baker’s fine vocal performance on “Baker Sings Chet” sat around on the usual huge stack of CDs and vinyl to be cleaned, sorted, reviewed and hopefully enjoyed before retiring to my vast foundation music library. As the new artistic director of the Topeka Jazz Festival in Kansas, I’ve been keeping an ear out for more male jazz vocalists, remembered this CD, and decided to give it a spin. Always a big fan of trumpeter Chet Baker — both his horn and singing — I was curious what this seemingly very young fellow had for chops.
Well, he processed a mega-dose of ability in many directions — decent timing, timbre and choice of material backed by a wonderful swinging band to make this lovely, yet fairly predicable collection of tunes a winner. Everybody cooks aplenty — mostly all killer, no filler — and if you value my opinion on who’s hot besides Baker, alto saxophonist Brent Jensen simply simmers throughout. I’ve dug his stuff from the first note of his beautiful tribute CD to Paul Desmond. By the way, Jeff’s vocalizing interplay with all the cats on this ultra-romantic, yet cookin’ creation shows his musical gifts and wisdom beyond his years.
Funny, just days after I first heard this I got a call from his mum/manager out of the blue, just checking out me and my Berman Music Foundation for possible venues for her talented offspring. Here you go, mom. You’ve got a kid to be proud of, and I’m telling everyone to pick up on this splendid piece of work.
Direct inquiries to www.oa2records.com and dig it, daddy-o.