Brilliant session from Baker's tragically short-lived quartet
Meant to be Mis’tah Chet’s shining hour, Baker’s NATO-sponsored European debut of the poll-winning trumpeter’s brand new quartet grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Seven days after the final session (October 1955), Baker’s gifted pianist Dick Twardzik (aged 24) fatally overdosed in his Paris hotel room, the ensuing media scrum diverting attention from this album’s excellence.
Aside from Twardzik’s “The Girl From Greenland”, the remaining eight tracks were composed by the pianist’s shadowy Bostonian buddy Bob Zieff, proving quite the reverse to Baker’s familiar romanticism.
It should have upped the trumpet star’s game. It didn’t. Baker went on to become a latter-day Flying Dutchman, while the album remains one of his finest studio moments.