I have been a long time fan of Chet’s music and I was fortunate to see him several times where he transfixed the audiences with his mastery of the idiom. I was lucky. Perhaps if he had been nodding I would have been less forgiving, but he wasn’t, and his artistry shone.
In 1986 at the Montreal Jazz Festival Chet Baker and Paul Bley started a highly anticipated duo concert together, but Chet was in such bad shape, he needed to be led off the stage to a chorus of boos and insults. This both saddened me and angered me. Sad because he had a superior gift that has been simultaneously aided and eroded by his addiction.
I channeled my feelings into an instrumental piece and recorded it in 1995 with a full band. Although I am pleased with this recording, I felt the intro should have been more rubato and I wish I had held the long notes at the end of phrases a little longer…
Chet’s Habit has been part of my repertoire and got better over time. One day, while playing it, I experienced the rhapsody of being high and escaping my woes and worries much in the same way drugs might take me away. The lines that became the lyric spilled out of me like a faucet fills a glass, and the instrumental was now a song.
In 2019 I took possession of my brand new handcrafted Greenfield guitar built for me by my friend Michael Greenfield. I revisited some of my repertoire as I got to know the guitar and because the Greenfield sustains superbly and the overtones are so pleasant I decided to re-record Chet’s habit.
I had just attended an important music conference and was trying to stir up interest in my work so I could enter the “house concert” scene. The people who interviewed me did not even listen to my discs because they were not representative of solo me (o sole mio).
I booked George Doxas’ studio where I am very comfortable working and recorded 30 songs which I pared down to what is released on the solo album “I’m A Caboose” of just me and guitar as one might experience my music at a home concert. The other songs have not been released yet; not because they suck, but I felt that thematically they did not fit the album. They will fit some future projects no doubt.
Sailing …over the sea trying to forget that I’m me Drifting…wafting… Floating along… In a song Sailing …over the waves I got nothing left to save Drifting… Wafting… floating along… Through my horn Words(2005) and Music(1986) By: Ian Goodall Hanchet