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Chet Baker: The Missing Years by Artt Frank

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Chet Baker: The Missing Years Artt Frank 234 Pages ISBN: # 978-0-9887687-4-1 BooksEndependent 2014 Baker attracts positive and negative criticism like a celebrity black hole--the artist as hero and antihero. When considering Baker, you consider no one else. From “On The Banks of the Jabbok with Chet Baker," All About Jazz, 2012. Since his death in 1988, trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker has been the subject of three biographies that when taken together, provide a temporal account of the musician's often turbulent life. The biographies must be considered together because ...

REASSESSING

Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe

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Chet BakerChet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & LoeweOJC1959/2013 The newest round of re-releases/remasters from the Concord Music Group celebrate the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. Singer and trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe joins Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013) in the label's birthday celebration. Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe can easily be considered a sequel and one half of a creative diptych with Chet (Riverside, 1959). On top of the jazz world a mere five years previously, Baker was amid one ...

OPINION/EDITORIAL

On the Banks of the Jabbok With Chet Baker

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When Yale professor Harold Bloom was interviewed by NPR shortly after publication of Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine (Riverhead, 2005), he was quite candid about his relationship with his own Judaism and Yahweh: Bloom: ... I may, as I say, lack trust in the covenant, but though I keep asking Yahweh to go away, I say so many times in this book, he won't go away. He haunts me. NPR: You really want Yahweh to go away? Bloom: Yes, I would love him to go away, but he won't. NPR: He ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Funny Valentine - The Story of Chet Baker

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Funny Valentine: The Story of Chet BakerMatthew Ruddick828 pages, softbackISBN: 978-1-907732-71-3Melrose Books2012Grippingly written and meticulously researched, Matthew Ruddick's 828-page opus is the definitive biography of trumpeter and singer Chet Baker. More than that, it is a vivid account of the junkie subculture that ran through mid-to-late 20th century jazz, as seen through the incident-packed life of one of its most spectacular participants. The book combines some of the best qualities of saxophonist Art Pepper's unflinching autobiography, Straight Life (Schirmer Books, 1979), and Ian Carr's scholarly musical biography Miles ...

REASSESSING

Chet Baker: She Was Too Good To Me

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Chet BakerShe Was Too Good To MeCTI Records1974 The modern image of trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker is a hopelessly fractious one. Baker is, at once, a brilliant musical autodidact with a superb ear while, at the same time, a musician with a nonexistent grounding in musical theory. Like cornetist Bix Beiderbecke before him, Baker taught himself, thereby forging a personal sound identifiable across the space-time continuum. He left a 40-year aural testament, recorded during the most revolutionary period in jazz, that revealed a remarkable focus unshaken by those changes. ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Chet Baker: His Life and Music

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Chet Baker: His Life and Music Jeroen de Valk Paperback; 296 pages ISBN: 189316313 Berkeley Hills Books 2000 The legacy of jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker, particularly that developed after 1980, has largely evaded detailed analysis. In the 25 years since Baker's death, following a fall from an Amsterdam hotel window, May 13, 1988, a clearer picture of the artist has emerged in the form of two excellent, yet whole disparate biographies, James Gavin's Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker (Knopf, 2002) and Jeroen de Valk's earlier Chet Baker: ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chet Baker: She Was Too Good To Me

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Newly reminted in 2010's CTI Masterworks series, She Was Too Good To Me was originally Chet Baker's 1974 “comeback album," his first recording since a well-publicized mugging by junkie acquaintances (hardly “friends") that relieved the singer and trumpet player of his money, dope and most of his teeth. “Believe me," Baker once observed, “when a trumpet player has his teeth pulled, it's a comeback." Creed Taylor's velvety production proves the perfect setting, and the standards “Autumn Leaves" and “Tangerine" prove that Paul Desmond's dry and airy alto saxophone is the perfect instrumental foil for Baker's tropical (steamy ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Chet Baker's Quiet Sound Endures

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Chet Baker Strollin' Enja 2008 Chet Baker Broken Wing Inner City 2009 John Proulx Baker's Dozen MAXJAZZ 2009 As iconic as any jazz musician, Chet Baker's gentle, understated playing and crooning ran counterpoint to his tumultuous life. Two late life recordings capture an introspective legend, voice ravaged by time, playing thoughtful and resonant solos. The third disc is a loving tribute showcasing the melancholic joie de ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chet Baker / The Bradley Young Trio: Chet In Chicago

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The reservation approaching this late-in-his-career and previously unreleased 1986 set happily proved to be unwarranted. Attending a dismal Chet Baker set in a brief-lived New York Village club that same year left me sad and depressed at the state of his playing and appearance, vowing to enjoy him only on record. Yet here he is in quite splendid form, uniquely melancholic and lyrical with “We'll Be Together Again." Although he doesn't sing on this song, those familiar with Baker will recognize his trumpet serving here as the coolly restrained alter ego of his voice. The calmness of ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Chet Baker with the Bradley Young Trio: Chet in Chicago

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Chet Baker with the Bradley Young Trio Chet in Chicago Enja Records 2008What is the cultural value of trumpeter Chet Baker 20 years after his death in Amsterdam? An interesting rift between biographers has emerged, the schism running along the interface of Baker's substance abuse and the art he generated in spite of it. James Gavin's Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002) was a searing look at the artist: musician, junky, cultural icon.

Critics have challenged that Gavin failed to apply equal ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Chet Baker: Indian Summer and The Quintessence

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Chet Baker Indian Summer Dutch Jazz Archive 2007 Chet Baker The Quintessence Fremeaux & Assoc. 2007

Hooray! Chet Baker, who died 20 years ago this month, lives again like a breath of fresh springtime air on these newly released CDs. Indian Summer was recorded in September 1955 on two consecutive nights at two different venues in The Netherlands. The personnel consisted of Baker (trumpet and vocals), pianist Dick ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chet Baker: Chet

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With his striking good looks, withdrawn stage presence, and reserved improvisational approach, trumpeter Chet Baker embodied everything that was “cool about jazz in the 1950s. He was peerless when it came to playing ballads, using simplistic phrasing and a tone that was at once unassuming, fragile, stirring, and sexy.

His experience as a singer undoubtedly influenced his interpreting the American popular songbook. By choosing not to use excessive embellishments the focus is shifted back to melody and away from ornamentation. Baker had an unrivaled ability to draw the essence out of any song and communicate meaning without words.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chet Baker: Chet

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A popular 1959 release by Chet Baker, this Riverside Keepnews Collection issue captures the gifted but troubled trumpeter at his best. It might even qualify as Baker's most satisfying and representative recording.

Although Baker's reputation as a singer has steadily risen, those who tend to dismiss his androgynous vocals as secondary to his trumpet playing will be happy to know that on Chet he devotes himself exclusively to the horn. Moreover, for all of the stereotypical notions about 1950s West Coast jazz as sterile, “white, and cerebral, this is truly bicoastal and genre-resistant music. Call it Art Pepper ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chet Baker: Career 1952-1988

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This Chet Baker collection begins and ends, appropriately enough, with two different versions of “My Funny Valentine. One is from the pioneering Gerry Mulligan Quartet at the early part of Baker's career; the other comes from a live performance two weeks before his untimely death. The critics hated his version of the song, as did many of his peers. But it's the song most associated with Baker, and one that always brought out his fragile and melancholy side, regardless of whether he sang it or played it.

As a career retrospective, this set is hard to beat. The ...



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