Chet Baker: trumpet | Edu Ninck Blok: trumpet | Evert Hekkema: baritone horn | Kees van Lier: alto saxophone | Dick de Graaf: tenor saxophone | Jan Vennik: baritone saxophone | Bert van den Brink: piano | Hein Van de Geyn: bass | John Engels: drums
Most of the individual members of the Dutch Amstel Octet had played with Chet Baker before, but Chet first met them as a band in August 1984, rehearsing for their first record 'Amstel Crossing' and he liked it. He accepted the invitation to be the featured soloist on the next album and here is the result, recorded on 22 september 1985 and released in 1986 on LP. Where on most other recordings with Chet in a guest role, he plays well known material, on this recording only one piece was familiar to him: Kenny Dorhams 'Shifting Down'. The other five compositions - including three of the hand of bass player Hein van de Geyn - were new to him. The increased playing time of the CD allows the addition of valuable tracks, that had been omitted from the LP. So the alternate takes of four titles are included here, giving the CD an appropriate ending with the unfinished take of 'Someday You'll Leave Me', where Chet has his last solo ending into silence.
Born 1929 in Yale, Oklahoma Chesney Henry "Chet" Baker Jr. had been raised in a musical household, his father being a guitar player. After playing in army bands he soon made name as trumpeter and singer during the bebop period in West Coast engagements with Charly Parker and the Gerry Mulligan Quartet. With his restrained, intimate playing style he is seen as typical exponent of cool jazz. He gained great fame with his solo in 'My Funny Valentine' and his plaintive, fragile way of singing. His career was many times severely interrupted by legal problems caused by his drug addiction. The most of his later years he spent in Europe where a fall out of his hotel window in Amsterdam ended his life on May 13, 1988. Whether he jumped, was pushed or fell by accident has never been cleared, but - as in all his life - drugs played a critical role in it. Nevertheless he left us a large quantity of recordings of uneven quality, of which this one belongs to the better part.
The Amstel Octet consists of eight experienced musicians who can be counted among the best of the Netherlands. They played in various long term and ad-hoc formations on the front row of the Dutch Modern Jazz Scene and accompanied many great soloists from Europe and the United States.