Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings

Tradition can mean many things to different people.  Historically and biblically, the word means to transmit or hand over for safekeeping.  Your Uncle Devin has successfully turned “Tradition” into a brand with Red Beans.  I am attempting to both physically and orally spread tradition via these worthless, circular pieces of wax.  Can one put a price tag on nostalgia, sentimentality or errr “that old feeling”?  Yes and No.  Chet Baker Sings has somehow become a holiday listening tradition for me, now us.

I play this album every year somewhere between Christmas and New Years.  While the album harps on personal loss and remorse, the theme resonates more with me as an opportunity to look back on the year that just transpired.  I can sit with this album and lucidly see the Ghost of Becker Past listening to the album at exactly the same point the previous year.  And Turtles all the way down.  What has changed?  What has developed?  Was there pain?  Was there happiness?  And what does that mean for the following year?  And does any of it matter?  Oh look a Cardinal!  What an unbelievably pretty bird.  

Chet Baker Sings was not well received in its era (1954).  This was Chet’s first attempt at singing.  He was strictly known for his trumpet abilities.  It was deemed “too soft, too feminine.”  Chet would claim he didn’t give any thought to the words, they were just part of the music.  That “softness” stigma was tradition passed onto many generations of males.  However, traditions do end.  One can argue we’ve tipped the scales in favor of the over-emotional being these days.  Sadly, Chet would spend his life overcompensating. Oh but what beauty this album possesses.  It would even give way to Bossa Nova in Brazil.  Just enjoy the ride Chet!  

As Chet sings “There Will Never Be Another You.”  There will never be another 2023. I sit here, eyes rested, and I can see the year starting off with fireworks at Clancy’s, a birthday in Paris, a Third Eye Blind reunion, Hogs 15, a Mullet, so many visits from the Tooth Fairy, spotting chipmunks in Cashiers, an LSU baseball national championship (you falling asleep right before the Tommy Tanks walkoff homerun), Swifties, Gretchen/Jules/Remi/Charlie and thousands of pancakes.  2023 was a great one.

So the boulder is back at the bottom of the hill.  We have regrouped at year end, rested and stand ready to start pushing the Rolling Rock up the agro crag with a smile on our face.  What adventures lay ahead in the new year?  The thrill has just begun.  Find the sunny side of life. Once more unto the breach, dear friends!

Favorite Tracks: “That Old Feeling” “It’s Always You” “Time After Time” “My Funny Valentine” “The Thrill Is Gone” “Look For The Silver Lining”

Pressing(s): 1) DOL – DOL797HG – Gatefold – 2017  

2) Blue Note – B0031300-01, World Pacific Records – PJ-1222, Pacific Jazz – PJ-1222. Tone Poet Series. 2023