Chet Baker: Let's Get Lost

The Shrine of Dig represents music that has made indelible impressions on our lives, both musically and personally. We plan to enshrine works and artists that stand out for any number of special reasons, from those glorious moments we first heard something captivating and new, through the continuous impacts of the music upon our lives. The induction ceremony involves multiple posts where we will both explore and pay tribute to the words and sounds which have been so important to us. In doing so, we share with you some music we believe is damn near infallible and absolutely worth listening to. View all

Chet Baker (1929-1988) was an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist. I once heard it said that concert promoters were not sure whether they should bill him as one over the other, so they just started booking him as the handsome guy. Either way, Chet had an ability to live on the back end of a beat that was unlike anyone else I've ever heard, and his conversational phrasing was always informed by his skill as a vocalist. Nevertheless, he was also the controversial king of the California Cool School of jazz where his drug habit was just as well known as his musicianship. He was in and out of jail, relationships, musical partnerships, and was perhaps nothing more than a slick con man with a cool smile and a good story to tell. In 1988 he was found dead outside of a Dutch Brothel and although no foul play was suspected, it is presumed that Chet was simply too high and fell out of the window to his death.

If all this sounds like the makings of a good story it's because it is. In 1988 writer and director Bruce Weber complied the story of Chet Baker into a documentary entitled Let's Get Lost. This film is a collection of interviews and footage with Chet's ex-wives, friends, and associated musicians in an attempt to paint the full picture of the man. Watch the documentery and then dig into itunes for some further Chet Baker knowledge. For my money, the album It Could Happen To You is Chet's best work and absoluetly one of my all time top five favorite albums ever. Check it out, you dig?