Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise

Chet Baker

Slowing the Tango

One of Chet Baker’s earliest breaks came in the early ’50s, when Charlie Parker selected him to play some West Coast gigs. Baker, a vocalist, flugelhorn player and piano player – in addition to being a trumpet player – would be associated with such acts as Gerry Mulligan.

Written by Oscar Hammerstein and Sigmund Romberg for the operetta “The New Moon,” 1928’s “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise” was originally conceived as a faster-paced tango. But over the years jazz artists have adopted it as their own, usually cooling the tempo a bit.