Bruce Springsteen, Chet Baker and More: My Albums of the Week #10

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

Art Pepper
Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section
(Contemporary, 1957)

Tracklist (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To / 2 – Red Pepper Blues / 3 – Imagination / 4 – Waltz Me Blues / 5 – Straight Life / 6 – Jazz Me Blues / 7 – Tin Tin Deo / 8 – Star Eyes / 9 – Birk’s Works

Really, this album should have been called the West Coast meets the East Coast. Art Pepper was one of the most distinctive saxophonists of the West Coast jazz cool school, his sound suave yet rogue. But Miles Davis’ rhythm section, with their muscular and no-bullshit swing, really challenge him to bring it on. And bring it one he does.

Stan Getz
West Coast Jazz
(Norgran, 1955)

Tracklist (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) / 2 – Four / 3 – Suddenly It’s Spring / 4 – Night in Tunisia / 5 – Summertime / 6 – S-h-i-n-e

Nobody puts Stan Getz in a corner. While he may be remembered as one of the smooth saxophonists of all time, his West Coast Jazz recording is not the type of manifesto of the title jazz movement you would expect. On the contrary, it includes some of his harder pieces ever, which owe more to the bebop that preceded it and the hard bop that would be soon to come in the jazz idiom lineage.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Letter to You
(Columbia, 2020)

Tracklist (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – One Minute You’re Here / 2 – Letter to You / 3 – Burnin’ Train / 4 – Janey Needs a Shooter / 5 – Last Man Standing / 6 – The Power of Prayer / 7 – House of a Thousand Guitars / 8 – Rainmaker / 9 – If I Was a Priest / 10 – Ghosts / 11 – Song for Orphans / 12 – I’ll See You In My Dreams

All that music, all those years and still so much left to say. Bruce Springsteen is particularly inspired on his new outing with his legendary E Street Band. In fact, this record sonically encapsulates all the group has represented since the ’70s, blending past and present seamlessly and energetically. Lyrically, here are some of Springsteen’s most profound words ever, which is truly saying a lot. There may be too many outlaws trying to work the same line but no one is truly a match for the Boss.

Chet Baker
Chet Baker Sings
(Pacific Jazz, 1954)

Tracklist (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – That Old Feeling / 2 – It’s Always You / 3 – Like Someone in Love / 4 – My Ideal / 5 – I’ve Never Been in Love Before / 6 – My Buddy / 7 – But Not for Me / 8 – Time After Time / 9 – I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes) / 10 – My Funny Valentine / 11 – There Will Never Be Another You / 12 – The Thrill Is Gone / 13 – I Fall in Love Too Easily / 14 – Look for the Silver Lining

Chet Baker’s vocal debut, a move that turned him into a mainstream superstar and the West Coast cool school’s poster boy. For this reason, he was looked down upon for the longest time. However, I believe sufficient time has passed for us to herald Chet Baker Sings as one of the greatest jazz records ever. If melody is what you’re all about, this record is for you. Timeless.

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