Sun, 12 December 2010
Today we have a deeply pensive version of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” as performed by the legendary trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
Baker recorded the album Silent Nights (his only Christmas album) with a drummer-less quartet made up of himself, pianist Mike Pellara, saxophonist Christopher Mason, and bassist Jim Singleton in New Orleans in January 1986. Just two years later, the troubled musician was found dead on the street below the second-story room of an Amsterdam hotel, with serious wounds to his head. Heroin and cocaine were found in his hotel room, and an autopsy confirmed the drugs were in his system when he died. There was no evidence of a struggle, and the death was ruled an accident.
The song has an ancient history. The original text may have been from as early as the 13th century, though it was more commonly believed to be written by an order of monks several hundred years later. The text to the carol we know as “O Come All Ye Faithful” was written in Latin (Adeste Fideles) and intended to be a hymn; it is attributed to John Francis Wade, an Englishman. The music to “O Come All Ye Faithful” was composed by fellow Englishman John Reading in the early 1700s, and the tune was first published in a collection known as "Cantus Diversi" in 1751. In 1841 Rev. Frederick Oakley is reputed to have worked on the familiar translation of “O Come All Ye Faithful” which replaced the older Latin lyrics.