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Chet Baker
Chet Baker
 Defenistration May 13, 1988
Age 58
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BIOGRAPHY  
LINKS                                                   Contribute and get your name on the Chet Baker Monument
 
 
 
 

OBITUARY 
       
          The following account was sent in by Bob Hagen 
            

          This is what happened to Chet in my opinion. 
          There was no question of murder because the room Chet fell out of was 
          locked from the inside and there was no sign of struggle. 
          Probably it was no suicide either. To get some air, Chet opened the 
          sash-window for about 40 centimeters and he sat on the window-sill. To 
          prevent the window from closing he put a piece of wood between the 
          window and the window-sill. This piece of wood broke and the window fell 
          down on Chets back (I opened it myself so I felt how heavy the window 
          was). He tried to get hold of something because he had the chain (to 
          fasten the window with) in his hand when he was found on the pavement 
          below his room. He fell on concrete pile and he died.

       
            
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
        
         
                  Chet Baker 
                  Chet Baker
                   
            b. Chesney H. Baker, 23 December 1929, Yale, Oklahoma,
            d. 13 May 1988, Amsterdam, Holland. 
             
         Few musicians have embodied the romantic, and ultimately tragic, jazz figure as totally  
         as Chesney "Chet" Baker (1929-88). Unschooled yet eloquent in his music, and a fast liver  
         who somehow managed to survive for nearly six decades, the Baker mystique has only  
         reinforced one of the most haunting trumpet styles and ingenuous approaches to jazz singing. 
         Baker, who never learned to read music, got his training in army bands, where he developed a spare and 
         introverted voice on the horn. The Oklahoma native gravitated to Los Angeles after his discharge, and beat out all 
         of the local competition in an audition for a short tour with Charlie Parker in 1952. Later that year, he began 
         working with Gerry Mulligan in a quartet that established an instant personality through the absence of a piano and 
         the intriguing counterpoint between trumpet and baritone sax. An early recording of "My Funny Valentine" by the 
         Mulligan quartet caused a national sensation and made the fragile sound of Baker's horn emblematic of an entire 
         "cool" attitude. 

         In 1953, Baker began a recording and performing relationship with pianist Russ Freeman that solidified his status 
         as a major jazz star. One key to this success was Baker's singing, which sustained the wistful vulnerability of his 
         trumpet work. Baker's good looks and growing reputation for high living also fed his notoriety, although a growing 
         frequency of drug incidents (including one that claimed the life of pianist Richard Twardzik during a 1955 
         European tour by Baker's quartet) soon began to overshadow Baker's playing. Yet somehow, in this period as 
         later in his career, Baker was able to keep his music under control, and to incorporate any technical lapses into the 
         fabric of his image. 

         While the cool label became a Baker trademark, he was in fact a modern trumpeter who could play with the 
         hardest boppers, as several recordings made in New York during the late Fifties demonstrate. By decade's end, 
         Baker was living in Europe, where he hoped to pursue a film career as well as music; but further drug problems led 
         to a prison sentence in Italy and set Baker upon the peripatetic lifestyle that he pursued for the next quarter 
         century. He returned to the U.S. in 1964, where he made several fine albums with George Coleman and Kirk 
         Lightsey. Then his career seemed permanently ended in 1968, when Baker lost his teeth in an altercation with 
         other junkies in San Francisco. He stopped playing for two years, then resurfaced again in New York in 1973, 
         where he renewed his recording career. Much of his final decade was spent in Europe, often working with a trio 
         completed by guitar and bass. Always in need of money to support his addictions, and still widely popular, Baker 
         became one of the most voluminously documented jazz artists in history during the 1980s. 

         Prior to his mysterious death in Amsterdam, where he fell out of a hotel window, Baker was the subject of Bruce 
         Weber's film Let's Get Lost, a fascinating study of hero worship and self-destruction.  
     

    Fantasy
  
 
 

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CONNECT YOUR NAME WITH THE MONUMENT TO CHET BAKER

At last, more than ten years later, a Chet Baker Monument is to be erected outside of the Prins Hendrik Hotel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where the trumpet-player and singer died on May 13 1988 after falling from his hotel room onto the pavement in front of the hotel. The bronze sculpture plaquette will be financed by gifts paid into the bank account as stated below.  

The name of each donor will be written in the "Chet Baker Monument Register" behind the monument. Donations can be made internationally by Swift: A B N A N L 2 A, Bank code 832.7.02 ABN/AMRO Epe. Acc. no. 400.00.33.461 in the name of Jazz Impuls, Nijbroek, The Netherlands, quoting "Chet Baker Monument" as reference. 

Sincerely yours, 

Bob Hagen. 

Jazz Impuls, Middendijk 61, 7397 ND  NIJBROEK, The Netherlands. 

Fax 00.31.571.291.893 
E-mail super.oscar@wxs.nl