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.