Trumpeter Chet Baker became known in the 1950s as one of the "cool cats." His lyrical blowing, distinguished by a seemingly endless melodic inventiveness and a dark, calm tone, matured over the years and reached its artistic peak in the 1970s and '80s when he mostly performed in Europe where he was regarded a "living jazz legend." When visiting his home country in May 1986 Baker was invited by Chicagoan pianist Bradley Young to be the main man in a well-recorded studio session. Never released before, "Chet In Chicago" features the great trumpeter in superb form fronting a straight-ahead All-American band.
Starting out with an extraordinary arrangement of "Old Devil Moon", the album climbs to its lyrical height in Chet's touching interpretation of the lovely ballad "We'll Be Together Again." However, the session surprisingly is dominated by uptempo tunes including famous bebop racehorses like Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" and Miles Davis' "Sippin' At Bells." Assisted by a very fine rhythm section (Rusty Jones was George Shearing's drummer from 1972 to 1978, Larry Gray is currently with Ramsey Lewis), the trumpeter displays his admirable skills with relaxation and consummate ease. In three of the fast tunes he is challenged by tenorist Ed Petersen, one of Chicago's best reedplayers and now a jazz professor at the University of New Orleans. For his vocal feature, Chet Baker chose one of his favorites, "My Funny Valentine", his signature tune since his early days with Gerry Mulligan.
Twenty years after Chet Baker's untimely death in Amsterdam (1988), the release of this long-time forgotten studio recording serves as a worthy tribute to one of the great, unmistakable improvisers in jazz. "Chet In Chicago" is released as the fifth volume of the successful CHET BAKER LEGACY series co-produced by CCB (Chet & Carol Baker Productions) and ENJA RECORDS.