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Chet In Paris, Vol. 1: Featuring Dick Twardzik

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Album Review

Chet Baker's first trip to Paris had its share of twists. His regular pianist, Russ Freeman, was unavailable, so the promising young player Dick Twardzik was recruited. Unfortunately, a few weeks after the quartet arrived, Twardzik was found dead in his hotel room from a heroin overdose. Baker still had bookings to honor, so he recruited French pianist René Urtreger and drummer Bert Dahlander to replace Peter Littman (who had returned to the U.S.). The first of four volumes includes all of the selections recorded for Barclay that feature the Baker quartet with Twardzik; all but one were composed by Bob Zieff, enjoyable pieces but hardly expected to become a part of the jazz canon. Twardzik plays a little bit of celeste at the beginning of his composition "The Girl from Greenland," which has some more adventurous chord progressions than Zieff's material. The later group with Urtreger adds two horns, alto saxophonist Jean Aldegon, and trombonist Benny Vasseur, which doesn't sound like a pickup group at all. The extra horns take some pressure off the leader, while the final piece, "In Memory of Dick" was contributed by Belgian saxophonist Bobby Jaspar (who would also die prematurely at a young age). If the Baker-Twardzik group had been able to work together for an extended period, it might have produced compelling music. This collection is enjoyable though it falls short of being essential. Long out of print and fetching ridiculous prices at auction, this music reappeared in a comprehensive boxed set of Baker's Barclay recordings that was issued in 2008.

Customer Reviews

Chet's Best

This is Chet Baker's 'Kind of Blue'. It's that good. The mood is sustained and quite melancholy, like a grey winter's day. Chet's tone is perfect and the piano is haunting. I love this album.

Chet In Paris Desert Isle Disc

Nice jazz from the mid 50s to play on a early Sunday morning. He only sings on the last song. Most of it is west coast soft instrumentals. All play well. This is volume 1 of 4 cd/downloads from his Paris recordings. This one is essential, Chet plays very well and straight from the heart.

Uncle Joe’s Tunz


Born: December 23, 1929 in Yale, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Chet Baker was a primary exponent of the West Coast school of cool jazz in the early and mid-'50s. As a trumpeter, he had a generally restrained, intimate playing style and he attracted attention beyond jazz for his photogenic looks and singing. But his career was marred by drug addiction. Baker's father, Chesney Henry Baker,Sr., was a guitarist who was forced to turn to other work during the Depression; his mother, Vera (Moser) Baker, worked in a perfumery. The family moved from Oklahoma to Glendale,...
Full Bio