Shades of Chet: A Tribute to Chet Baker (1999)

Gorni Kramer, Pietro Garinei, Sandro Giovannini, George Gershwin, Gerry Mulligan, Don Sebesky, Sonny Rollins, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Horace Silver

Rava, Fresu, Bollani, Pietropaoli, Gatto

After a highly successful tour, Shades of Chet was released in 1999. This album is an absolute reference album for Italian jazz.  

It originated from the project known as "Tribute to Chet Baker" featuring the five most famous Italian jazz musicians in the world: Enrico Rava (trumpet and flugelhorn), Paolo Fresu (trumpet and flugelhorn), Stefano Bollani (piano), Enzo Pietropaoli (double bass) and Roberto Gatto (drums). 

In 1998, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the death of Chet Baker, Enrico Rava and Paolo Fresu, conceived the project of a series of concerts dedicated to Chet Baker. The tribute to the great trumpet player, with whom three members of the tribute group played (Rava, Pietropaoli and Gatto) is immediately understood not just in the sense of tribute, but in the sense of revival: in the style of the leaders, both so close to the poetics of Baker, in the choice of songs (not just those made famous by Baker, but also those he loved , although he played them rarely), in short, in the recreation of an atmosphere, crystallized in those golden 1950s, the years of troubled youth of Baker, to which most of the songs can be traced back.

One of the album's unique features is that the leaders of the quintet (Rava and Frescu) are recorded on two different channels (Rava the left, Fresu the right).  In addition, both have done one song solo or "alone", in a personal homage: to Chet Baker. The solo tracks are Enrico Rava on "Retrato em branco and preto" (composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim) and Paolo Fresu on "You Can Not Go Home Again" (composed by Don Sebesky).

Shades of Chet was produced by Biagio Pagano and Mario Guidi for Millesuoni Sri.  It was recorded by Giulio Cesare Ricci using his Signoricci system, entirely in analog using tube microphones and electronics. The Analog Master was recorded with the Ampex ATR 102 2 track at 1/2 inch 30ips. Mr. Ricci used dCS Analog to DSD converters to transfer the Analog Master Tape to Stereo DSD 64 to create this very special DSD release. 

It's absolutely a must have!

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Gerry Mulligan

The youngest of four brothers, New Yorker Gerry Mulligan spent his teenage years in many different parts of the United States. As a child growing up in Ohio, Gerry had been fascinated by trains "the sound of the locomotives made a huge impression on me". He learned in succession to play piano, clarinet, alto, tenor and finally baritone sax. Together with Gil Evans and Miles Davis, the 20-year-old worked on the revolutionary nonet compositions for Birth of the Cool in 1948. The gangly sandy-haired musician with his big Conn baritone made his recording debut as a leader in 1951 and moved to Los Angeles as arranger for the Stan Kenton Big Band. With Chet Baker he formed a popular piano-free quartet and worked as a sideman on numerous recording sessions. He never liked the label West Coast Jazz: “My bands would have been successful anywhere.” In 1960 he put together the successful Concert Jazz Band and around 1968 began a sporadic but sustained partnership with Dave Brubeck. The 70s were a highly productive period for Mulligan. Beginning in 1970 with a big concert at the Berliner Philharmonic, where he teamed up with the Dave Brubeck Trio. After a seven year break from studio recording, in 1971 he created the orchestral album The Age of Steam for A&M. He experimented with the electronic duo if Beaver & Krause, played in Charles Mingus' famous Town Hall Concert of 1972 and toured Japan and Europe - Italy in particular. The man who could make the tricky baritone horn sing, recorded a blues album with T-Bone Walker. In 1974 he met Astor Piazzolla which gave rise to Simmit (Tango Nuevo) and opened up completely new horizons for the tango. In Carnegie Hall the audience saluted Mulligan's reunion with his long time friend Chet Baker. The fact that he wrote fascinating film scores and won Grammys for them in the 70s, not to mention his burgeoning interest in jazz-rock fusions, once again highlighted this extraordinary musician's exceptional openness and creative potential.

photo: from cover 2XHDSW1118 - Stuttgart 1977

Dizzy Gillespie

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and singer.

Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic and rhythmic complexity previously unheard in jazz. His combination of musicianship, showmanship, and wit made him a leading popularizer of the new music called bebop. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality provided some of its most prominent symbols.

In the 1940s Gillespie, with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz. He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Jon Faddis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Chuck Mangione, and balladeer Johnny Hartman.

photo: cover Dizzy Gillespie Quintet Stuttgart/Frankfurt '61

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Shades of Chet: A Tribute to Chet Baker (1999)

Gorni Kramer, Pietro Garinei, Sandro Giovannini, George Gershwin, Gerry Mulligan, Don Sebesky, Sonny Rollins, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Horace Silver

Rava, Fresu, Bollani, Pietropaoli, Gatto

    NativeDSD Listener

I have a number of the Fone releases from NativeDSD. This Italian label is superb in sonics and realism. My highest recommendation for Shades of Chet: A Tribute to Chet Baker. Just Awesome! Wish I could find more of those jazz musicians!!

Bob Alexander

    NativeDSD Listener

Shades of Chet is a superb jazz album, and one of the best-sounding jazz DSD releases. Download it now and share it with friends and fellow jazz lovers at your New Year's Eve party!

Mark Werlin

    HR Audio.Net -

Shades of Chet is a new DSD release sourced from an analog master tape of a recording session made in 1999. In a sense, it revisits the original function of DSD, which was intended as an archiving tool to preserve analog masters in a digital format that closely replicated the sound character of the original. The reissue of this set, which, to my knowledge, was not widely distributed in the US, preserves a superb analog master tape and shares with a wider listenership an outstanding performance by preeminent Italian jazz musicians. It's ironic that Chet Baker, one of the most self-destructive and self-centered personalities in jazz culture, left behind in the wreckage of his life a collection of performances that so profoundly affect listeners and fellow musicians. In their liner notes, trumpet players Enrico Rava and Paolo Fresu speak of the impact on their playing of Baker's poetry and emotional expressiveness. For this session, Rava and Fresu selected nine tunes drawn from Baker's early recordings with the Gerry Mulligan group through his late-1970s large ensemble performances arranged by Don Sebesky. The use of two trumpets or flugelhorns, open and muted, demanded an unusually careful balance between the brass voices. The soloists, a generation apart in age, have enough differences in timbre and similarities in phrasing to mold the set of song-form pieces into an affecting musical statement. Chet Baker's trumpet playing and vocal performances are inextricable—two instruments with one common voice. Pianist Stefano Bolani and bassist Enzo Pietropaoli are both well-equipped to play in a lyrical, cantabile style that evokes Baker’s unique vocal character. Drummer Roberto Gatto offers sympathetic support to the horn soloists and adds propulsive energy to the rhythm section. The original recording was engineered with close attention to the positioning of the instruments in a studio acoustic. The piano sound is vividly three-dimensional, and the upright bass has unexaggerated warmth and presence. Fonè Records chief Giulio Cesare Ricci's transfer to DSD preserves the analog character of the original. A translation from Signor Ricci's technical notes: "The mastering was done by Giulio Cesare Ricci using the entirely analog and tube "Signoricci" system. The master was realized by sending to a dCS A/D DSD converter the analog master recorded on an Ampex ATR 102, 2 track, 1/2 inch, 30 ips." Performance: 5 out of 5 Stars, Sound Quality: 5 out of 5 Stars

Mark Werlin[read full review]


Let me start by saying I love this album. A tribute to Jazz Trumpeter & Flugelhorn player Chet Baker. Enrico Rava leads this quintet of musicians for a recording of 9 selections from people like Rodgers & Hart, George Gershwin, Sonny Rollins, and Charlie Parker. Rava is joined by Paolo Fresu, Stefano Bollani, Enzo Pietropaoli, and Roberto Gatto. I found the selection, a collection of standards and less familiar tunes, to be much to my liking. The interpretation of these songs was very involving and moving. The performances are exceptional and so is the recording. My recommendation is to hurry and get this one before it’s gone.

Jack Roberts

Shades of Chet: A Tribute to Chet Baker (1999)

Gorni Kramer, Pietro Garinei, Sandro Giovannini, George Gershwin, Gerry Mulligan, Don Sebesky, Sonny Rollins, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Horace Silver

Rava, Fresu, Bollani, Pietropaoli, Gatto

Cables: Signoricci
Digital Converters: dCS A/D and D/A Converters
Editing Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Mastering Engineer: Giulio Cesare Ricci - Analog to DSD Transfer
Microphone Preamp: Signoricci
Microphones: Neumann U47, U48, M49 Valve (Tube) Microphones
Producer: Biagio Pagano and Mario Guidi for Millesuoni Sri
Recording Engineer: Giulio Cesare Ricci
Recording location: Studio Diapason, Rome, Italy on May 17-18, 1999
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog

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SACD194: Shades of Chet: A Tribute to Chet Baker
00:58:17   Select quality & channels above
Horace Silver
00:05:25   N/A
My Funny Valentine
Richard Rodgers,Lorenz Hart
00:09:50   N/A
Charlie Parker,Dizzy Gillespie
00:05:15   N/A
Retrato Em Branco E Preto
Antonio Carlos Jobim
00:07:30   N/A
Sonny Rollins
00:07:00   N/A
You Can't Go Home Again
Don Sebesky
00:07:30   N/A
Line For Lyons
Gerry Mulligan
00:07:10   N/A
Strike Up The Band
George Gershwin
00:03:25   N/A
Gorni Kramer,Pietro Garinei,Sandro Giovannini
00:05:12   N/A

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