Chet Baker wanted to be known as a trumpeter first and foremost. Yet, it is arguably his voice – as well as his good looks – that shot him into superstardom. In fact, while mostly sticking close to the melody, few were ever better at breathing new life into well-worn standards as he. The timbre of his voice, like the tone of his trumpet, was warm and tender, calm and soothing, perfectly balancing control and vulnerability.
That he was a talented vocalist was his vocal debut, Chet Baker Sings from 1956, featuring classics songs of romance, longing and heartache. The album is now considered age-defining and iconic. Among the tracks is “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” which first appeared in the 1950 musical film Guys and Dolls, and was written by Frank Loesser. While not as famous as other tracks on the LP, including “My Funny Valentine,” its popularity has grown in later years. It was even used as the conclusive song for Born to Be Blue, the 2015 film based on Baker’s life, starring Ethan Hawke as the trumpeter/vocalist.
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