“Alexa, Play Chet Baker” is a phrase I’ve uttered many times in this house. When I go to clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, or simply try to make sense of my daughters’ bedroom after what looks like a bomb went off. Even getting ready for a party, I ask for Chet. Alexa enthusiastically replies, “Shuffling songs by Chet Baker!”
Chet soothes me. I love his crooning, his horn playing, and the overall vibe. For years I was into hip hop, and rock. Then, one day, I found Chet Baker. It started in the cut-outs when I came across a CD called Chet Baker Sings. I was at the Brown Elephant in Andersonville, a resale shop where people dump their old CD collections.
I loved it and after a week made my way back to the always new and interesting second-hand selection, with my daughter in her stroller, and picked up the other two CDs on the shelf. Chet Baker & Strings, and My Funny Valentine.
“Let’s Get Lost” might be my all-time favorite Chet moment. It seems like a guilt-free love story where two people leave their worlds behind, bent on starting anew. It’s romantic, and my picture of what love could and should be.
After stalking the dollar bins I came across Each Day Is Valentines Day, and my affinity for “They All Laughed” was born. Many of these love songs were recorded by Baker at the height of his career for the Pacific Jazz label during the ’50s. It’s a great gateway album if you are not yet familiar with the man.
Lately, I’ve been feeling “I Remember You,” the most. It begins with Chet and a piano before breaking into a cymbal-sprinkled jazz groove that gets under your skin. Damn does that chorus bring a smile to my face!
When my life is through/And the angels ask me to recall,
The thrill of them all/Then I shall tell them, I Remember You!
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