Chet Baker, more than ten years after his mysterious death, is more popular than ever. Baker was an extremely handsome young man and this, coupled with his reckless, drug-addled life, earned him the tag the James Dean of Jazz. But even after he lost his looks, Baker's trumpet and vocals continued to spellbind. Jazz snobs like to forget that Charlie Parker chose Baker to be his West Coast foil or that it was Dizzy Gillespie who talked Baker into returning to the trumpet in the '70s after his teeth were knocked out. Baker hit the big time at a very young age, with Gerry Mulligan's groundbreaking piano-less quartet that made a name for West Coast jazz. Baker's trumpet style owed a lot to Miles Davis (though, Baker never used a mute and was ashamed when he beat out Clifford Brown in jazz polls) and his pleasant, thin vocals were just as introspective and well-phrased.
Chet Baker Concert Films
Let's Get Lost
Runtime: 1 hr 60 min"Let's Get Lost" is an American documentary film about the turbulent life and career of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker written and directed by Bruce Weber. The title is derived from a song by Jimmy McHugh and Frank Loesser from the 1943 film Happy Go Lucky which Baker recorded for Pacific Records. A group of Baker fans, ranging from ex-associates to ex-wives and children, talk about the man. Weber’s film traces the man’s career from the 1950s, playing with jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, and Russ Freeman, to the 1980s, when his heroin addiction and domestic indifference kept him in Europe.
Chet Baker Top Tracks
Alto Saxophone Jazz Solos
Runtime: 50 minOne of the most individual of all alto saxophone players, the cool-toned LEE KONITZ has always had a strong musical curiosity that has led him to consistently take chances and stretch himself, usually quite successfully. The Jazz Sessions spotlights unaccompanied performances by some of the legends and bright young stars of the jazz world. Designed and recorded specifically for television, SOLOS offers viewers front row seats for an intimate and unique jazz experience. Each program features complete musical pieces, insightful interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. Shot in stunning HDTV with multiple moving cameras and a medley of elegant cinematic lighting, SOLOS showcases an exciting and dynamic variety of jazz styles - from the blues and boogie-woogie to bebop and the experimental.
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 43 minJazz Legends - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (1929-1943) by Duke Ellington, includes a series of short films made in Hollywood featuring Ellington performing his biggest hits: Black And Tan (1929) directed by Dudley Murphy; Check and Double Check (1930) directed by Melville Brown; Symphony in Black (1934) directed by Fred Waller; Paramount Pictoral No.889 (1937); The Hit Parade of 1937; and RKO Jamboree No.7 (1943) directed by Jay Bonafield. .
Triumph of the Underdog
Runtime: 1 hr 18 minDon McGlynn's uncompromising and soulful documentary look at the tumultuous life of musician and rebel Charles Mingus is simply fascinating. Mingus said of himself "I am half black man, half yellow man, but I claim to be a Negro. I am Charles Mingus, the famed jazz musician--but not famed enough to make a living in America." His statement summed up the conflict that plagued this musical genius his entire life: volatility, pain, prescience, and raw rage roiled inside a complex man, composer, bass player, and trombonist who transcended labels and refused to be pigeonholed into a single musical style--and who did not achieve real fame until late in his career. The documentary is full of well-preserved footage and contains interviews with many Mingus followers like Wynton Marsalis as well as performances by icons Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan. The film traverses past the musical legend with insight and information into Mingus's personal life, his civil rights activism, and his final triumph in the music world--just as his body began to deteriorate from Lou Gehrig's disease--to his eventual death in 1979. Mingus left a legacy composed of genius, vulnerability, brilliance, anarchy, and, as one friend noted, "the entire range of human emotion that is reflected in his music.
The Miles Davis Story
Runtime: 2 hr 4 minTrumpeter-bandleader Miles Davis (1926-91) was a catalyst for the major innovations in post-bop, cool jazz, hard-bop, and jazz-fusion, and his wispy and emotional trumpet tones were some of the most evocative sounds ever heard. He was also one of the most identifiable and misunderstood pop icons of the 20th century. This engrossing British documentary shows the complex layers of this magnificent and mercurial artist. Through rare footage and interviews, we learn of Davis's middle-class upbringing and his early days with bop legends Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The documentary bluntly deals with Davis's narcotic nadir and his rise from the depths to become a bona fide jazz icon in the mid-'50s to late '60s. But the most penetrating and poignant portraits of Davis come from musicians who played with and were influenced by him, including Shirley Horn, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Jarrett.
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 50 minJazz Icons: Dave Brubeck boasts two beautifully filmed concerts from one of the most beloved quartets in jazz history. Captured at the pinnacle of their power and popularity, Paul Desmond (alto sax), Joe Morello (drums), Eugene Wright (bass) and Dave Brubeck (piano) explore the trails they blazed into the realm of odd time signatures with “Forty Days” and two versions of their groundbreaking hit “Take Five,” as well as forays into world music with two unique interpretations of “Koto Song.” Their intimate onstage chemistry and impeccable musicianship made the DBQ an award-winning jazz supergroup. Features: 24-page booklet; liner notes by Darius Brubeck; foreword by Doug Ramsey; cover photo by Gus Schuettler; booklet photos by Chuck Stewart, Lee Tanner, Jan Persson, Susanne Schapowalow, and Ray Avery; memorabilia collage; much more! 67 minutes.
Notes from a Jazz Survivor
Runtime: 49 minAn intensely personal and sometimes painful look into the fascinating world of Art Pepper. One of Jazz' greatest alto saxophonists and most expressive soloists, Pepper was also a thief, drug addict, alcoholic, womanizer, and world renown wildman. In candid interviews he recounts his triumphs, troubles, and luck in meeting Laurie, his last wife. For half the film Pepper leads a trio in a Malibu nightclub, the set includes: "Red Car", "Patricia", and "Miss Who?".
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minCongo Square is a musical tribute to New Orleans composed and performed by Wynton Marsalis, trumpet master from New Orleans and Yacub Addy, an African master drumer -- a unique collaboration where a Lincoln Center's great jazz orchestra mingles with an African percussion ensemble in a 2 hour concert of original music filmed at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival.