Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How to Piss Off Hugh Hefner: Chet Baker and Art Pepper

Hugh Hefner

Chet Baker is the trumpeter with the Little Boy Blue features and a horrific heroin habit. His singing voice retained a vulnerable innocence throughout his career, endearing him to so many fans.  He teams up with Art Pepper another heroin grappler who spent considerable time in and out of the American penal archipelago, including a couple stints in San Quentin.  (By the by, speaking of the American penal archipelago: More Americans are under ‘correctional supervision’ at the current time then were imprisoned by Stalin in the Gulags of the Soviet Union in its heyday! True.)

A couple of rough diamonds you’d think would never be able to blow such wonderful music. But wow, this album swings sweet and low. The interplay of trumpet and alto sax is seamless and one is left with the impression that these are two old mates, perhaps identical twins who know everything about the other.

Playboys is a sweet, silly and silky. The sweetness resides in the non-stop swing and melodies and the silk is the tone Pepper gets on the alto and Baker on his horn. Every lively plunge of the valves brings joy. The silliness comes on the cover. An age of American innocence pin up of a model teasingly covering her bosoms with two children’s hand puppets. Must have some oblique reference to the wonderful opening track, For Minors Only. Whatever, Hugh Hefner sued when the album came out forcing a quick change to the cover and title.  Luckily the CD reissue realigned the universe with the original artwork.

This is a stunner. To be enjoyed with a G&T or simply a cup of T. 

            Track Listing:
            01 For Minors Only
02 Minor - Yours
03 Resonant Emotions
04 Tynan Tyme
05 Picture Of Heath
06 For Miles And Miles

Listen here.

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