Saturday, February 18, 2023

 You Can't Go Home Again--Chet Baker

Trumpet player Baker has a cool, lyrical, muted style that bears an incidental resemblance to that of Miles Davis from his Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain period, and on You Can't Go Home Again, applies himself more tactfully and imaginatively than a dozen other flashier players could, Freddie Hubbard (Liquid Love style) included. While notable, the taciturn qualities that Baker and Davis share--a constructive use of silence and spacing between phrases, a whispering quality of tone, the absence of vibrato--Baker's improvisations have their particular character. The music is generally lyrical and moody with heavy orchestration by Don Sebesky (whose career as CTI house arranger has converted many a talent into a white faced, mass market commodity), but Baker's pensive, searching emotionalism transcends the limits, as well as the efforts of a superb group of sidemen, including drummer Tony Williams, saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Ron Carter, guitarist John Scofield, along with other famous names like Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond, and Alphonso Johnson, The group playing is infectious and allows for several sparkling moments, particularly in the solos of Scofield, Desmond and, Brecker. The lyricism here is terribly handled, without the goo of sentimentality: Baker's power seems to come from a deeper, emotionally richer resource source, a source that creates spontaneous melodies that, all said and done, requires repeated listening. The nuances here are sublime.

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