Actually, despite what everyone else says, the problem here isn’t Chet Baker, or the raised expectations that comes with; not the label who probably thrust Getz and him together, not their distrusting relationship that sometimes inspires the former to constantly mark his territory and inspires the latter to give a phoned in performance (or it might have been the drugs). The problem here is Marshall Thompson, who hammers away at the cymbals without relent the entire time; if it weren’t for some rapid solos he gets on the back half of “Jordu,” the medley (which he’s nothing more than a metronome for) and certain moments of lyrical relief throughout “I’ll Remember April”, you’d think the cymbal was all that came in the man’s kit. Dude sucks, and single-handedly sends the album to shit. Comparatively, bassist Victor Sproles does fine, though it sounds like he stumbles at the 10:20 mark on “Half-Breed Apache.”
But even if there was a drummer with more nuances in his lexicon, this is still a disappointment for the previously outlined reasons. If it weren’t for his name on the bill, you wouldn’t know that Chet Baker was capable of greatness (it’s the same case for Chet Baker’s own In New York), and despite the title, the two rarely actually meet: Chet Baker gets “Autumn in New York” to himself and steps into the back bathroom to shoot up some heroin, leaving “Embraceable You” to the supporting cast and “What’s New” to Stan Getz (and irregardless of who’s playing what, the medley is the worst track here), and is again, entirely absent on “Jordu.” And for all the talk about this being a Stan Getz album through and through, I think pianist Jodie Christian plays the best solo here, tucked away in the last third of “Half-Breed Apache”: whereas his contributions in the previous tracks were all straight-forward (if spirited), there’s a passage from 11:14 – 11:24 where he sounds like he’s a child, tumbling down the stairs unhindered by adult supervision.