Let's get the weekend rolling with an 88th birthday tribute to one of the masters.
Today's guy fought terrible troubles his whole 58 years down here with us.
Somehow, he managed to stick around long enough to leave us with some tremendously honest and beautiful music, and is still a household name to this very day.
He was born in the dust bowl of Oklahoma at the start of the Great Depression, and something about his style and sound always carried those Blues.
At one time, he was the most promising young star in all of American music, but the demon of substance abuse saddled him his whole time in the spotlight.
Sadly, he became more famous for his addictions than for his music.
Although he didn't even live to be 60, his legacy -- both as instrumentalist and vocalist -- will endure long after all of us are gone from here.
There will always be something enduringly elegant and mysteriously trenchant about the music and the troubled, short life of Chet Baker.
He was born this day in 1929, and he didn't last into the new century on the physical plane... not even close. What he left behind for us, however, is another story.
He is so dearly beloved that he's one of those cats who's got very little left unissued. But there is this delicious desk reel I've got, taped in Switzerland in the summer of 1980, of him out front of a sweet little Italian combo at a festival.
Estival Jazz Lugano
Piazza Della Riforma
01 Night Bird
02 Tempus Fugit
Total time: 48:28
Chet Baker - trumpet
Nicola Stilo - flute
Carl Ratzer - electric guitar
Riccardo Del Fra - double bass
Tullio De Piscopo - drums
master soundboard reel, with a couple of DAT generations in between
251 MB FLAC/December 2017 archive link
I shall return on New Years' Eve with one last blast of gas for 2017, but for now I'd advise latching onto this rare slice of nice, courtesy of today's birthday boy. He may have left us far too soon and under less-than-optimal circumstances, but before he did he made sure we had the goods.--J.
12.23.1929 - 5.13.1988