Chet Baker is known for major innovations in cool jazz that led him to be nicknamed the "Prince of Cool".
59 Facts About Chet Baker
Chet Baker's well-publicized drug habit drove his notoriety and fame.
Chet Baker was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Chet Baker was born and raised in a musical household in Yale, Oklahoma, on December 23,1929.
Chet Baker said that owing to the Great Depression, his father, though talented, had to quit as a musician and take a regular job.
In 1940, when Chet Baker was 10, his family relocated to Glendale, California.
Chet Baker began his musical career singing in a church choir.
Chet Baker's mother said that he had begun to memorize tunes on the radio before he was given an instrument.
Chet Baker received some musical education at Glendale High School, but he left school at the age of 16 in 1946 to join the United States Army.
Chet Baker was assigned to Berlin, Germany, where he joined the 298th Army Band.
Chet Baker dropped out during his second year to re-enlist.
Chet Baker became a member of the Sixth Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco, spending time in clubs such as Bop City and the Black Hawk.
Chet Baker was discharged from the Army in 1951 and proceeded to pursue a career in music.
In 1952, Chet Baker joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet and attracted considerable attention.
Chet Baker formed a quartet with a rotation that included pianist Russ Freeman, bassists Bob Whitlock, Carson Smith, Joe Mondragon, and Jimmy Bond, and drummers Larry Bunker, Bob Neel, and Shelly Manne.
Nevertheless, Chet Baker continued to sing throughout the rest of his career.
Chet Baker declined a studio contract, preferring life on the road as a musician.
Chet Baker's output included three collaborations with Art Pepper, including Playboys, and the soundtrack to The James Dean Story.
In 1958, Baker rejoined with Stan Getz for Stan Meets Chet.
However, author Jeroen de Valk and pianist Russ Freeman said that Chet Baker started heroin in the early 1950s.
In late 1959, Chet Baker returned to Europe, recording in Italy what became known as the Milano sessions with arranger and conductor Ezio Leoni and his orchestra.
Chet Baker appeared as himself in the musicarello film, Howlers in the Dock.
Chet Baker spent more than a year in jail, and was later expelled from Germany and the UK on drug-related offenses.
Chet Baker was deported to the US from Germany for getting into trouble with the law a second time.
Chet Baker settled in Milpitas, California, performing in San Francisco and San Jose between jail terms for prescription fraud.
Chet Baker then released five albums with Prestige, recorded in one week.
That summer, already having reached a low point in his career, Chet Baker was beaten, probably while attempting to buy drugs, after performing at The Trident in Sausalito.
Chet Baker received cuts and several of his teeth were knocked out.
Biographer Jeroen de Valk notes that Chet Baker was still musically active after 1966, performing and occasionally recording.
In 1969, he released Albert's House, which features 11 compositions by Steve Allen, who organized the recording date to help Chet Baker restart his career.
Chet Baker did not release another album for 4 years, and from around 1968 to 1973, stopped performing in public.
Chet Baker Was Too Good to Me, released by CTI Records that same year, is considered a comeback album.
In 1977, Chet Baker recorded Once Upon a Summertime and You Can't Go Home Again.
Chet Baker worked almost exclusively in Europe, only returning to the US about once a year to attend some performances.
From that point on, Chet Baker recorded a prolific amount of material.
In 1979, Chet Baker made 11 records; the following year, he made 10.
Later in his career, Chet Baker preferred to play in ensembles without drums.
Chet Baker detested playing at loud venues to inattentive audiences.
In 1983, British singer Elvis Costello, a longtime fan of Chet Baker, hired the trumpeter to play a solo on his song "Shipbuilding" for the album Punch the Clock.
Later, Chet Baker often featured Costello's song "Almost Blue" in his concert sets.
Augmenting the music, Chet Baker spoke one-on-one with friend and colleague Costello about his childhood, career, and struggle with drugs.
When Chet Baker started opening up to Weber, Weber convinced him to work on a longer film about his life.
Early on May 13,1988, Chet Baker was found dead on the street below his room in Hotel Prins Hendrik, Amsterdam, with serious wounds to his head, apparently having fallen from the second-story window.
Chet Baker is buried at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California, next to his father.
Chet Baker married the 20-year-old Halema, 7 years his junior, in May 1956, one month after they met.
Two years later in 1964, Chet Baker returned to the United States, and Halema was able to serve Chet Baker divorce papers.
Chet Baker married Carol Jackson in 1964, and they had two more children, Paul in 1965 and Melissa in 1966.
Chet Baker took care of his personal needs and assisted him with his career.
In 1973, Chet Baker began a relationship with Ruth Young, a jazz singer.
Chet Baker accompanied him on his 1975 tour in Europe, and he lived with her while stopping in New York.
Together, they recorded two duets, "Autumn Leaves" and "Whatever Possessed Me," for the 1977 album The Incredible Chet Baker Plays and Sings.
In 1971,1972, and 1975, Chet Baker was arrested for drunk driving.
In 1997, Carol Chet Baker published and wrote an introduction to his "lost memoirs," taped around 1978, under the title As Though I Had Wings.
An Academy Award-nominated 1988 documentary about Chet Baker, Let's Get Lost, portrays him as a cultural icon of the 1950s but juxtaposes this with his later image as a drug addict.
Time after Time: The Chet Baker Project, written by playwright James O'Reilly, toured Canada in 2001.
Chet Baker's "lost memoirs" are available in the book As Though I Had Wings, which includes an introduction by Carol Chet Baker.
Chet Baker is portrayed by Ethan Hawke in the 2015 film Born to Be Blue.