Most people have a certain type of music that helps them destress from overwhelming situations. Mine happens to be a jazz album from 1956.
“Chet Baker Sings” was the first vocal album cool jazz trumpeter Chet Baker ever recorded.
What makes this album so calming and timeless is the relaxing manner in which he sings and plays trumpet. That relaxing feeling is something that has helped me wind down at any time, especially at the end of each semester.
Baker’s album came out at a time when Miles Davis was king of jazz, and most trumpeters tried to mimic his style.
Yet Baker had his own unique style that made him stand apart.
From the opening track, “That Old Feeling,” Chet’s style shines through.
A simple trumpet solo starts off this track, followed by his vocals taking the lead.
What’s so incredible about Baker’s style is that his trumpet playing has such a deep, personal feel to it, like you can understand the passion he has when playing.
That same passion is present in his singing as well. Never had I heard instrumentals and vocals sound so much alike until this album.
“Chet Baker Sings” has a few upbeat songs like the opening tracks but has a majority of slow ballads.
“But Not for Me” takes an old George Gershwin song and spices it up to something absolutely magnificent.
The catchy yet soothing stylings of Chet are present throughout this whole song, and it’s wild to think of how he’s shaped this song from its showtune roots.
Not only does Chet’s uniqueness shine through in his style and track variety, but also his ability to take old songs like this and give it a charming reimagining.
In “I get along without you very well” Baker takes Hoagy Carmichael’s orchestral piece and slows it down to a dreamlike state.
Though Sinatra’s version of this song might have been more popular when released in 1955, Baker deserves credit for this song’s softer cover with his recording being in early 1954.
The songs in this album have rotating themes of happy love and hopeless love.
Hopeless love seems to be present in much of the latter half of the album.
The album doesn’t end on a melancholy note though.
“Look for the Silver Lining” is a perfect response for the tracks before it.
As the title suggests, the song is about looking at the bright side of things and acknowledging what good can come from situations.
“A heart full of joy and gladness will always banish sadness and strife so always look for the silver lining and try to find the sunny side of life,” are lyrics that provide a great message for listeners, often giving me positivity.
What has me coming back to this album is the feeling of pure bliss I have when listening to each track.
It’s got a timeless feel that doesn’t need too much going on like many songs of today.
Sometimes simplicity is what’s needed most in music, and the simplicity of Chet Baker Sings helps me escape the business of college when it may seem rough and always look for the silver lining.