Chet Baker (1929-1988)

Laurent Filipe Trio: A tribute to Chet Baker

I once had the opportunity of meeting Chet Baker. He was a man o such few words that I have a hard time recalling what we talked about. Increasingly turned towards him-self, it looked as though Chet was listening to an inner sound.

As with most great artists, Chet's concern, and therefore his art, was focused on conveying that "inner sound" to the outside. Whether playing or singing (the difference is the same), while giving a voice to that "sound", Chet reinvented Jazz standards, involving them with soft spoken lyricism, suffering and beauty.

 

 
For many years now I have payed tribute to Chet and his musical spirit by performing his favorite standards. Songs such as "My Funny Valentine" or "Lets Get Lost" are, of course, better known to the public while others such as "Everything Depends on You" may have only been recorded once and performed fewer times in Chet´s vast repertoire. The choice of what to record was therefore difficult and certainly arguable. I felt however that a tribute could not be satisfactory without songs such as "But not for Me", "The Touch of your lips" or "You Don´t Know What Love is" since they became an intrinsic part of Chet´s musical life. The instrumental opener "Ode to Chet" was written some twenty-five years ago and I still enjoy playing it. In "Chet Baker" I tried to represent the feel and mood of Chet´s world and life. Such is my tribute to the "golden boy" who gambled his life away for the sake of that "inner sound".

Laurent Filipe (April 2006)
 

 
Chet Baker (trumpeter/singer 1929-1988)

A short "bio"

Because of his easy good looks and his singular romantic attitude, Chet Baker is often referred to as the "James Dean of Jazz". Chet's "cool" style of playing (rarely above a "mezzo-forte"), the soft and pure tone of his voice, along with a somewhat irreverent lyricism, put him in the spotlight of the 50's Jazz scene, next to great names such as Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz and Stan Kenton.

Unfortunately, the 60's marked the beginning of a downward spiral into the world of heroin along with a tumultuous life. Chet crossed the Atlantic numerous times and recorded a large part o f his discography in France, Italy and Germany


 
 
After losing his teeth to some thugs in a shady transaction, Chet Baker disappeared from the music scene for five years. In 1977,thanks to the help of fellow trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie Chet made a full force reappearance with the album "You Can't go Home Again"

Astonishing in his use of melodic resources, Chet's approach to standards such as "My Funny Valentine" and "But Not For Me" have become a landmark in the history of Jazz. In 1988, Chet Baker died mysteriously, having allegedly fallen out of a second floor window in an Amsterdam hotel. Behind him were left some memorable recordings such as "Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman", "Chet Baker Quartet", "Chet Baker with Strings", "Stan Meets Chet", "Ballads by Chet Baker", "Chet Baker in Milan", "Cool Burnin", and "My Favorite Songs".


 
 
 
 
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