SPISCE ANIMALS

Music is the best means
we have of digesting time.
~W. H. Auden
Chet Baker and Bud Shank

—Hollywood

"Perhaps the most enticing aspect of the soundtrack to the James Dean Story (2000) is the rare Chet Baker (trumpet/vocal) vocal on "Let Me Be Loved," which has been added to supplement Blue Note’s CD reissue. At face value, having an all-star West Coast cool aggregate provide the incidental music seems appropriate enough. However, not even top-shelf luminaries such as Baker, Bud Shank (alto sax/flute), Pepper Adams (bass), Charlie Mariano (alto sax) and Monty Budwig (bass) can redeem Leith Stevens’ less than inspired compositions. While Stevens’ impressive résumé boasts work on the motion pictures Private Hell 36 (1954), The Wild One (1954) and the Oscar-winning sci-fi classic Destination Moon (1950), the match of his meandering melodies and non-committal themes to this ensemble is somewhat of a misnomer. The musicians fail to rise beyond the arguably limited, if not dated swing arrangement of "Jimmy’s Theme," or the undeniably unimaginative "Fairmont, Indiana." Modern ears can’t help but find the bongo fury and pseudo-hip "Hollywood" as little more than a (possibly unintended) parody of the subterranean beatnik scene, sounding like something infinitely better suited to any number of late-’50s teensploitation flicks. Luckily, the entire affair is not a complete write-off as there are a few highlights scattered throughout. Most pointedly, Johnny Mandel’s ethereal and penetrating "The Search," as well as the laid-back and unassuming "Success and Then What?" are worthy of mention as they are infinitely more appropriate and allow for some key interaction and solos. The languid balladry of "Let Me Be Loved" immediately recalls Baker’s sensual and signature "My Funny Valentine" and as such is the zenith of his contributions on this effort. As previously mentioned, while the original Pacific Jazz release only featured the instrumental take, the Blue Note compact disc from 2000 boasts the otherwise unavailable vocal version."

Write Up by Lindsay Palmer @ AllMusic

Mp3 - Chet Baker & Bud Shank “Let Me Be Loved”

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