Chet Baker : a study of his improvisational style, 1952-1959
The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker's improvisational style, both instrumental and vocal, during the early period of his career (1952-1959). Baker's early years were divided into six periods, based on major milestones: The Charlie Parker Groups (1952-1953), The Gerry Mulligan Quartet and Tentette (1952-1953), The Chet Baker Quartets (1953-1956), The European Groups (1955-1956), Quartets, Quintets, and Sextets (1956-1957), and The Riverside Recordings (1958-1959). Improvised lines and chord changes from fifteen solos were transcribed and analyzed by the researcher; melodies of standard songs were transcribed and compared with the original version. The number of solos selected from each period was based on the length of time Baker spent with each particular group and the number of albums recorded. The solos were analyzed in terms of rhythmic interpretation of melodies, intervals utilized, use of nonharmonic tones, use of jazz cliches, embellishment of the melodic line, use of melodic and rhythmic patterns, range, tone quality, articulation, vibrato, and vocal scat syllables. As a result of this analysis, the researcher was able to draw conclusions concerning Baker's improvisational style during the period of the study.