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Chet Baker - Live at Ronnie Scott's
Umbrella Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 59 mins . G . PAL


Chet Baker is said by some to be one of the best jazz trumpet players of all time. Recruited to play alongside jazz saxophone great Charlie Parker at age 22, Baker had the world in front of him. Tragically, however, he turned to drugs. Over his vast career he produced many albums and toured extensively, up until his death in 1988. The jury is still out on his death - he fell, jumped or was pushed from a hotel balcony in Amsterdam.

Recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London in 1986 and boasting special guests Elvis Costello and Van Morrison, this concert performance from this jazz legend should please his many fans. It also boasts to being his last performance. This is an extremely mellow show, so don't expect to dance along. Backed ably by a fine pianist and bass player, Baker performs some of his most loved songs. Along with his smooth trumpet playing, he sings quite a few numbers and surprisingly has a well-suited voice. Van Morrison performs Send In The Clowns (how apt) and does a sufficient job but Elvis Costello does a great job with the three songs he performs. Some songs are interspersed by interview questions from Costello, which are quite informative and show that the man still had his wits about him, even with the abusive life he had led - sunken cheekbones being the most obvious sign of said life. This is definitely not a performance for everyone, I would even go as far as to say only jazz fans would enjoy this one.

Track list:

Ellen David
Just Friends
Shifting Down
Send In The Clowns
If I Should Lose You
My Ideal
Love For Sale
The Very Thought of You
You Don't Know What Love Is
I'm a Fool To Want You

Although only a short concert, with a total running time of 58:38, fans of jazz and Chet Baker alike should find this show more than satisfying.


Presented in full frame and therefore not anamorphically enhanced, the video transfer is adequate. Things are extensively grainy throughout and with a lot of low-level noise, fortunately taking nothing away from the mood of the show. The fact that it is a typical smoke filled jazz club wouldn't have helped though, so the transfer cannot be blamed fully. Blacks are not too bad at first, but seem to deteriorate during the latter parts of the show when more stage lighting is used. Colours are generally good as is shadow detail, considering the age of the source. There is no aliasing to speak of or noticeable artefacts. There is one major glitch at 25:00, I am not sure what it is or what the cause is. Audio supplied is Dolby Digital 5.1 only and it does the job sufficiently. The rear speakers and subwoofer get little to no use, but they are not really required due to the music style.

The extras are minimal to say the least. There is a trivia track in the form of subtitles which, if selected, can accompany the feature. This is much in the way of a commentary but the information provided is scarce and not too informative. There is also the option to play random tracks either with or without the trivia feature. Next is a Discography covering Baker's 25 albums and it's quite a useful feature. Lastly, and by far the funniest, is a little gem called Umbrella Propaganda. This is simply a picture of some other titles available.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Strictly for jazz fans, this jazz trumpet playing legend should satisfy."
    - Adrian Turvey
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