Jeff Baker

Phrases

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Robert Rusch, Cadence

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JEFF BAKER is a vocalist of some originality which is nicely presented on PHRASES, a 5/19-24/17 date with Darrell Grant [p], Steve Wilson [as/ss], Geof Bradfield [ts], Marquis Hill [tpt], Gregory Uhlmann [gtr], Clark Sommers [b] and Brian Blade [drm]. There are a few things that distinguish this fine recording: with 11 tracks (six originals) and 75:15 minutes there is plenty of time to stretch out and they do, at times making the singing secondary. This is a collection of meaningful, well chosen tunes and a lyric print out accompanies the disc. And then there is the singer, a tenor who twists his voice often in harmony with the instrumental parts. There is no rush suggested and Baker sings with deep conviction, equal to Gregory Porter, and like Porter, Baker best on his own originals. Although that is not to say, his arrangement and singing on the standards ("And So It Goes", "Ballad Of The Sad Young Men" "Not Cause I Wanted To", "Stay Alive" And "Don't Worry Bout Me") is not without interest. A string quartet is occasionally added with distinction. Baker does most of the arranging and he, Darrell Grant and Clark Sommers are credited as producers. Baker takes much of his inspiration from writers; A.A.Milne, Salinger, etc. I was moved.






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