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In March 1956, Chet Baker was touring in Germany when he was paired with French singer-guitarist Caterina Valente. For those of you unfamiliar with Valente, she would become a pop sensation in the '60s with her ability to record flawlessly in about a dozen languages.
In other words, Valente was a record company's dream, especially when a label wanted the same song in multiple languages for sale in those markets.
Sadly, combining Baker with Valente in a Baden-Baden studio was a bit of a mismatch. What may have seemed smart on paper came off rather disjointed when the two tracks they recorded were finished—I'll Remember April and Everytime We Say Goodbye.
Baker, of course, was about lyricism and patience whereas Valente's intonation on this date lacked the proper warmth and care. And based on their facial expressions listening back in the photo at top, they seem to know it.
A big thanks to JazzWax reader Anthony Middleton in London for sending along the rare photo at top.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.