His Life and Music
by Jeroen de Valk
An informative, thorough biography that no Chet Baker fan should be
without. Most of the
book is about Chet's later (and more interesting)
years in Europe. The author never tries to hide the reader from the dark
side of Chet, but overall the emphasis is on the musician's extraordinary
The book also includes a comprehensive discography, a complete 1987
interview with Chet Baker, great photos, and an entire section devoted to
the investigation of the trumpeter's death. I find myself referring to
this book regularly for information about Chet.
It is available at your local bookstore, or at most
on-line book sellers.
As Though I Had Wings
by Chet Baker
Chet's lost memoir is unfortunately an unfinished memoir, taking the
reader only up to 1964. Chet fans will enjoy hearing about his early days
in his own words.
by William Claxton
About 100 photographs of Chet Baker are presented here in a nice
tribute by William Claxton. Most of the photos are studio shots of Chet,
although there are a few pictures taken at Chet's house with Halema.
Claxton also writes some stories about Chet and about the
Deep in a Dream
The Long Night
Of Chet Baker
by James Gavin
Gavin's controversial biography is a lengthy, in-depth study of
not only Chet Baker the musician, but Chet Baker the man. As many Baker
fans will agree, the book concentrates
entirely too much on the devilish
side of Baker. True, Chet was no saint, but in all the stories, all the
legends, all the interviews with people who knew and loved Chet, couldn't
there have been more insight in to the good side of Chet? After reading
this book, you almost believe there was no good side.
Chet Baker fans will still like the detail in which this book is written.
Especially the late 60's - early 70's, Chet's "missing" period.
Not much has been written about that period, and I found it interesting
how Chet achieved that comeback in the early 1970's.
The book has photos rarely seem before. Many of the photos here are
snapshots from personal collections. As a result we see a less-flattering image
of the subject (no doubt the intention of the author), sometimes a polar
opposite of the Claxton image.
Looking For Chet Baker
An Evan Horne Mystery
by Bill Moody
Moody's 5th Evan Horne mystery takes the jazz pianist/sleuth to
Amsterdam where he gets intrigued by Chet Baker's life, and more
importantly, by his mysterious death. A nice blend of fact and fiction,
Moody involves Chet Baker in his story and makes it believable. He also
introduces a great character named Fletcher, who represents all the great
American jazz musicians (Baker, Gordon, Powell, etc.) who found such
acceptance in Europe while being forgotten in their homeland.
If you like this, be sure to check out Bill Moody's other Evan
A Book About Jazz
by Geoff Dyer
An anthology of stories inspired by the greats of jazz.
Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Art Pepper, Lester Young and
others are all subjects of short stores based on
particular events in their lives. The book it self reads
like a great jazz piece, each chapter is a unique solo
that takes you to different places and times. This is not
a historical document, the author merely gives you his
interpretation of these events. The chapter on Chet
revolves around his last days, and his reflections on his
troubled life. This book is highly recommended for jazz
Other books on Chet:
Chet, the Music of Chesney Henry Baker:
By Thorbjørn Sjøgren
Chet Baker in Europe 1975-1988
By Ingo Wuff
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