I confess I didn’t quite know how to approach Amos Lee’s My Ideal: A Tribute To Chet Baker Sings–with excitement and delight, or merely admiration. I get that this sounds grudging, but in my book Chet was not only one of the best two jazz trumpeters who ever strode this earth, he was also one of the very best singers. Alas, outside jazz circles, he never quite became the household name he could have been. Rock circles knew him best, perhaps, as the horn player on Elvis Costello’s own original version of “Shipbuilding,” arguably a quarter century past his peak. So anyone who can raise his profile, well, that’s fine by me.
Amos Lee has been around for a while, an associate of Norah Jones, and a purveyor of a bluesy folk hybrid style. That he has recorded his first five recordings for Blue Note might also suggest someone somewhere could hear a hint of something jazzier to his bow. Rather than offer any view to his previous, let’s stick with My Ideal, wherein he deigns to replicate the mood of the album Chet Baker Sings, backed by a trio of Philly’s finest. These comprise David Streim on piano and trumpet, Madison Rast on bass, with Anwar Marshall on the drum seat.