Saturday, February 26, 2005

Chet Baker Introduces Johnny Pace - Riverside Label, 1958

Johnny Pace, Introduced by Chet Baker

I have been downloading a lot of music from emusic, which is an amazing site for jazz lovers. First, it is a lot more reasonably priced than itunes, but if you are a fan of jazz, this is your site. They have the archives of the Prestige, Fantasy, Riverside, and Pablo labels for classic jazz. This site has barely scratched the surface of their archives I would think (I'm a big fan of the label, as the best Christmas gift I ever got was the Complete Prestige Sessions of John Coltrane form the Missus). So I've decided that every now and then I'd highlight and album and pass some comments. Now I'm not a musicologist (my oldest friend and fellow Sudbury native is one who is currently teaching at Stanford), but have listened and read enough to know what I know and what I don't.

This is the debut album of Johnny Pace, featuring the Chet Baker quintet. It was released in 1958. It's not a bad album: while Pace's phrasing or range will never be comparable to Sinatra, Hartman, Eckstine, or Hendricks, it is a nice cross between Sinatra and Bobby Darin where it is pleasant enough. Baker plays his usual subdued obligattos, not being intrusive but having enough presence to make sure the whole ensemble swings. The tracks that caught my attention on this were "The way you look tonight", "Everything I've got belongs to you", and "All or nothing at all": they are upbeat, fresh, swinging and overall relaxing. I particularly like "Everything I've got belongs to you", just the lyrics are quite clever.

Considering I've downloaded this, I'd recommend it in that format, but would I pay full price for the CD - probably not. That is not saying it's not a bad album - just I'm not that overwhelmed by it to buy the CD at full price.


monica said...

Johnny Pace was my Dad, he passed in 1979 of throat cancer, and hearing the album all my life it is hard to be objective....I am always interested in hearing other people's opinions.
I remember Chet hanging around, they were pretty wild guys.

J.D. King said...

I have that album, and I'd say it's well worth owning as a CD.

It captures a quiet time, the end of the cool era, perfectly.

I only wish Johnny Pace had recorded more. But it does add to the overall sense of mystery to have this be the sole artifact.

Thanks for your thoughts, Monica!

Johnny Pace, RIP.

Bloggi said...

"Yesterdays", that's my personal favourite.

The first time I heard that tune - Johnny's voice singing in combination with Chet's cool play... very touching.

Anonymous said...

as a chet baker fan i bought johnny's cd.i have looked high and low for other recordings and i am filled with sadness to hear that there are none.i didn't know what became of johnny and i am sorry for that as well. his music lives on in such faraway places as my hometown of SALTCOATS (a seaside town in the west of SCOTLAND).SANDY COWAN

yxos said...

Hello Monica,

I'm sorry for your dad having passed away so soon.
As I am just working on a Chet Baker Fansite, would you mind telling me the exakt dates of birth and death of your father? I can't find them anywhere else...

Greetings from Germany

Terry said...

I'm love this album Monica and I was dissapointed to find it's the only one,I'd love to know if your Dad performed much after this release,I think he's up there with Mel Torme and Bobby Darren others,how strange such potential was not recorded more,I hope you're pleased his voice still is giving pleasure . Terry Sheehan