Emotional Trumpet Playing
Chet Baker takes you to a deep, deep place with both his trumpet playing and his vocals, and is another example of how dynamic a single-tone instrument can be simply by translating feelings into note and melody.
His name is associated with Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, but his sound was all his own. You’ll find stories of trouble surrounding Baker as well though, with the legend of his beating by drug dealers that broke his mouth to the point where he couldn’t play his horn for many years, before eventually getting his chops back.
So he ultimately is an example of how to play, how to feel, how to really dig into your own personal demons; but he’s also an example of what to avoid on the music circuit. There’s a balance to be found, and even though many brilliant people are personified through their adventures into the alteration of the mind, the smart money is on finding your place within the realms of sobriety.
If you’re into jazz standards, you’ll find that “My Funny Valentine” is going to take you into the heart of that realm. If there’s one recording of Chet’s to know inside and out, and to comprehend the history and meaning of, it’s going to be that one. It’s been translated into all different sorts of arrangements over the years, and anyone who is just dipping into jazz for the first time will find that it’s one of the first gentle suggestions that will be coming your way. Between melodic possibilities and lyrical flow, it’s the kind of material that has changed many lives over the years.
Frank Sinatra’s version lives in infamy on its own, and Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald put their own swing on it during their careers as well.
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