Elsewhere Art . . . Chet Baker

 |   |  1 min read

Elsewhere Art . . . Chet Baker

Chet Baker was -- like Dean Martin -- a man whose gifts came so easily he took them for granted and was casually dismissive of them.

Dean would walk into a recording studio or onto a film set, do what was required with the minimum of effort and then head for the golf course or, later in life, to the same restaurant. The gift was just there to to be rolled out when required and then he could get on and do something else. Or, increasingly, nothing.

Baker, blessed with film star good looks, was much the same: he could play beautifully wistful trumpet and sing in his soft-focus style and . . .

After that what else was there?

There was heroin.

He didn't seem to care much about anything. His looks went as did money and partners, he got his teeth knocked out, he took parts in Italian films because he could and they paid so he could buy junk, and he just kept playing and singing in his increasingly wispy style.

This collage was for an article about Baker in which I suggested Baker's curse in many ways was that he didn't die young and leave a good looking corpse along with a small catalogue of wonderful music. That would have ensured a more enduring legacy.

But he lived on, increasingly ravaged and squandering the gift into lesser and lesser projects. He lived to 59.

The article I wrote a long time ago, shortly after his death in '88,  is here

The art offered different images and ages of Chet and the collage of words were cut to pick out various points in a fragmented life.

.

For other Art by Elsewhere go here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Art by Elsewhere articles index

Elsewhere Art . . . Pilot

Elsewhere Art . . . Pilot

Too easy really. When deciding to write about the British pop group PIlot for the We Need to Talk About pages, the idea just came immediately. Pilot from Scotland were inspired by the Beatles... > Read more

Elsewhere Art . . . Miles Davis III

Elsewhere Art . . . Miles Davis III

Given his interest in what we once called "the fight game", it was inevitable that Miles Davis would be drawn to the outsized character of boxer Jack Johnson who caroused, openly went out... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . .  EDEN AHBEZ: Come and see the real thing . . .

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . EDEN AHBEZ: Come and see the real thing . . .

With the appearance of the New Zealand alt.folk singer who goes by the name of Arthur Ahbez – whose albums touches on world music, have a free-flowing quality and are somewhat trippy... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Fergus Barrowman

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Fergus Barrowman

Fergus Barrowman is the Publisher of Victoria University Press, New Zealand’s leading publisher of new fiction and poetry, as well as scholarly non-fiction, where he has been since 1985.... > Read more