Deep in A Dream

Deep in A Dream

The Long Night of Chet Baker

eBook - 2011 | Unabridged pbk. ed.
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From his emergence in the 1950s as an uncannily beautiful young Oklahoman who became the prince of "cool" jazz seemingly overnight to his violent, drug-related death in Amsterdam in 1988, Chet Baker lived a life that has become an American myth. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and previously untapped sources, this first major biography of one of the most romanticized icons in jazz gives a thrilling account of the trumpeter's dark journey. Author James Gavin delves deeply into Baker's tormented childhood, the origins of his melancholic trumpet playing, and even reveals the long-unsolved riddle of Baker's demise. Baker's otherworldly personal aura struck a note of menace and mystery that catapulted him to fame in the staid 1950s but as time wore on, his romance with drugs became highly publicized. Gavin narrates the harrowing spiral of dependency down which Baker tumbled and illustrates how those who dared to get close were dragged down with him. This is the portrait of a musician whose singular artistry and mystique has never lost the power to enchant and seduce.
Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, 2011.
Edition: Unabridged pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9781569769010
Characteristics: 1 online resource (430 pages)
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Apr 29, 2020

The music of Chet Baker so epitomized the the essence of "cool" West Coast jazz style of the 1950s. His best performances, in my opinion, were in intimate small group settings where his understated style and smooth vocals could shine. He led a rough life due to his struggles with drug addiction and died at only 58 years old. This book may contain material not suitable for younger readers. But don't judge him just by his personal shortcomings. Listen to what he plays. There is great sensitivity and lasting timeless beauty in his music to be appreciated by all.

Nov 23, 2011

I picked up this book because I heard an interview about it on NPR. As a fan of Chet Baker’s music and jazz in general, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the trumpet player.

Chet Baker had it all: talent, handsome looks, fans worldwide and a drug addiction that took it all away.

The author, James Gavin, presents a thoroughly researched portrait of Chet Baker. I wasn’t wild about his cynical, sarcastic tone throughout the book, however, that didn’t prevent me from finishing it either. It was a disturbing look at the jazz legend’s life, to say the least.

I think the life and times of Chet Baker would make for a great movie. Sadly though, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to the music of Chet Baker the same way again.

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