Let's Get Lost: The Best of Chet Baker Sings

Baker, Chet

Getting Lost, in a Mist, with the Master

Chet Baker was the polar opposite of those jazz singers who approach the microphone intending to wow their audiences. He sang haltingly, as though deep in doubt. He didn't demand attention. Instead, his confiding tones made romance seem infinitely beguiling, something almost beyond comprehension. This disc was culled from recordings made in the 1950s before heroin ravaged his body and blunted the little-boy-blue purity of his voice. It is among the most beautiful respites in all of jazz.

Baker (1929–1988) was a longtime heroin addict. This made him notoriously unreliable; at times he'd take recording dates just to score enough money to feed his habit. The upheavals in his life didn't always seep into his art, however. When he was on, he displayed a control of nuance that made him the music world's Monet, a master of mists and gentle inflections. Here, Baker is in the company of sympathetic West Coast jazz players. He's obviously comfortable, unafraid to appear vulnerable. These all-time-great performances of "I Remember You," "My Funny Valentine," and "You Don't Know What Love Is" have a gliding, unperturbed aura; they're jazz singing as a private internal discussion. Baker defines not just the melodic outlines of a song, but a way of feeling within it. He melts the music without ever raising his voice, and when he's finished doing that, he picks up the trumpet and blows sweet, lyrical solos that take things to a slightly different place. Baker once observed that his singing and playing were intertwined: "If I hadn't been a trumpet player, I don't know if I would have arrived at singing that way. I probably wouldn't have."

Genre: Jazz
Released: 1989, Pacific Jazz/Capitol
Key Tracks: "My Funny Valentine," "My Ideal," "But Not for Me," "I Remember You," "You Don't Know What Love Is."
Catalog Choice: Gerry Mulligan: The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker
Next Stop: Paul Desmond: Take Ten
After That: Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left
Book Pages: 40–41

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#1 from Adam Herbst, New Jersey - 03/26/2009 11:14

The Nick Drake connection is great.  Go back a step to Bix.

#2 from Martin D. Gil, San Francisco - 05/09/2009 1:19

This album is one of my all time favorites.  I often find myself on a gloomy San Francisco afternoon, listening to this album through headphones, while I ride public transportation around the city. 

Chet’s voice is beautiful, at times haunting, and I agree with you that he is “unafraid to be vulnerable.” Great selection - I’m glad you included it on this list.

#3 from Michael Hays, Lansing, MI, USA - 05/23/2009 7:28

I’m a touch confused by this particular entry. The CD that I’ve purchased is called, “The Best of Chet Baker Sings”, with no mention of “Let’s Get Lost” on the outside of the disc (other than being one of the tracks). Is this an error in naming the title, or do I have the wrong CD?

#4 from tom moon - 05/25/2009 4:34


My hunch is you have the same recording, or at least the vast majority of the songs. Pacific Jazz/Capitol has reissued the Chet Baker material a bunch of ways….for a short while there were actually two compilations with the title (or subtitle) Let’s Get Lost.

the compilation in the book covers music recorded in 1953, 1954 and 1956. among the gems (to name a few additional ones from the above): “It’s Always You,” “Just Friends,” “Time After Time.”

hope that helps…and enjoy…


#5 from Linda J. DeLillo, United States - 08/14/2009 7:31

Forgive the humor, but I AM lost.  Are you saying that “Let’s Get Lost” is on “The Best of Chet Baker Sings”?

When I played the sample on Amazon, it was instrumental, so I’d love to know if Baker sings on it.

I just heard John Proulx sing it (on the radio) and that tweaked my interest (again) in Chet Baker.  Also, there was a great documentary tonight on Baker (“Let’s Get Lost” - the Sundance Channel).  So, after hearing Proulx and DVRing the documentary, I feel like someone is telling me to “get some Chet”.

Great site, by the way.


#6 from Josh - 09/02/2009 8:27

He was one of the greatest of all time.  Nothing relaxes me more than sipping on a bourbon listening to some Chet Baker.

#7 from Al, United States - 09/14/2009 5:02

Despite being a heroine addict Chet Baker was a musical genius and his songs helped me get through some of the difficult events of my life. “You Don’t Know What Love Is” will always be one of the most inspiring song of all time. <a

#8 from tom - 09/14/2009 8:46

thanks for yr note, Al….

had to smile when I read “heroine” addict—I guess I’m one too.

as for drugs, Chet was in fact a heroin addict.


#9 from David R., Melbourne - 01/21/2011 4:04

I am surprised at the choice of album here.  There was an album released in 1956 called “Chet Baker Sings”.  I have long been a fan of this album, but got the compilation to hear the songs I have been missing.  Well, the compilation contains all of the songs from “Chet Baker Sings”, plus six extra ... but these extra tracks that aren’t on the original album are weaker songs IMO, and turns a flawless 5 star album into a 4 star album.

#10 from Bruce, New Hampshire, USA - 02/22/2012 7:31

Just an additional pointer for people who read down this far: the soundtrack album that’s a companion to the documentary about Chet—“Let’s Get lost”—is brilliant. I think it is still in print. I have the novus LP. This was done very late in his career. Not only has Chet’s tentative, questioning horn playing and vocals, and fine guitar work from Nicola Stilo, but there’s a Jobim song called “Zingaro” (“Portrait in Black and White”) with an *incredibly* beautiful bass solo by John Leftwich. Well worth seeking out if you can find a copy.

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