Although recorded within two weeks of each other, Chet Baker Quartet 1 and 2 are quite different records. Because pianist Dick Twardzik was calling the tunes, 1 consisted of Bob Zieff compositions that shared a Modernist slant. Ten days later Twardzik died from a heroin overdose, and the next session, featuring two personnel changes, was— probably because the musicians weren’t as familiar with each other—devoted to well-known standards. No harm done, though, as 2 presents an opportunity to hear Chet Baker dive into several ballads. Sad, poignant, and hauntingly beautiful, “You Go to My Head,” “Tenderly,” “Lover Man,” “Autumn in New York,” and “These Foolish Things” are classic Chet Baker. Yet the earlier recording, which contains no ballads, is as good as the second. In this atypical setting Baker never sounds less than distinguished, his lyricism intact even on the most hard- driving bop. Remastered from original master tapes and pressed by Pallas in Germany, these 180-gram mono LPs stand out for their clarity. The piano never sounds murky, the brush and cymbal work comes through nicely, the bass has real heft, and the trumpet floats above the other instruments so weightlessly you’d swear it was a voice.