Chet Baker: Summer Sketch
Quartet: Russ Freeman & Chet Baker (Pacific Jazz CDP 7243 8 55453 2 0)
Composed by Russ Freeman.
Recorded: Los Angeles, November 6, 1956
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Not to be mistaken for The Rippingtons’ guitarist of the same name, pianist Russ Freeman was a mainstay of 1950s West Coast jazz. He was also a composer of small but splendid output. "Summer Sketch," among the loveliest original ballads in modern jazz, was his masterpiece. It's mainly Freeman's showcase, but Chet's fragile open horn is haunting, and Manne's restraint is telling. If you believe jazz "don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing," skip this track. If, however, your jazz encompasses as much pathos as the other great arts, then this pensive, plaintive track must be heard.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz