21/11/14 – Chet Baker – My Funny Valentine – Live in Torino, Italy – 1959

Video Of The Day

Chet Baker 1959Sublime, there’s no other way to describe it. You can hear at the end of the clip that the audience are completely and totally blown away by this performance.

Baker was born in Oklahoma in 1929 – the ultimate tragic figure, the poster boy for self destruction, he made Keith Richards look like Julie Andrews. Addicted to heroin from the mid fifties, in and out of jail, deported, beaten up, his inspiration and pain are here in this incredible clip (please do not let the quality distract you).

His voice was soaked in angel’s tears, mellifluent and with perfect intonation, effortless, expressive with absolute control and that’s before we even address his trumpet playing – and the sunglasses. A total disaster as a person, a miracle as a singer and a player.

He died falling from a balcony at an Amsterdam hotel in sight of central station in 1988, he was 58 years old. I went and stood in the spot where he fell and closed my eyes and remembered him, this giant of emotion, this uncontrollable creature of the night, this connection to beauty and darkness.







There’s not a lot of info on Jimmy Pratt and Glauco Masetti without some dedicated research but Franco Cerri was known as ‘The best guitarist in Italy’. Romano Mussolini was actually Mussolini’s fourth son, (married to Sofia Loren’s sister) but thankfully not involved in politics. Lars Gullin was a Swedish tragedy like Chet Baker, addicted to methadone, he died of a heart attack in 1976 aged 48.

Chet Baker – Voice, Trumpet, Lars Gullin – Bass, Glauco Masetti – Sax, Romano Mussolini – Piano, Franco Cerri – Guitar, Jimmy Pratt – Drums

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4 Responses to “21/11/14 – Chet Baker – My Funny Valentine – Live in Torino, Italy – 1959”

  1. simone November 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Such a bittersweet song as well. While it’s known as a jazz standard it’s origins were in the stage musical Babes in Arms and sung by a then 16 year old girl named Mitzi Green.
    Baker was a genius but such an incredibly tortured soul. This was the piece that showed the world that he wasn’t just a trumpeter. A terribly sad demise. So adored but with this great urge to destroy everything in his life. The film All The Fine Young Cannibals drew inspiration from Baker’s early life and is a must to watch.
    Gullin’s life is equally as sad. His son Peter ( Peter Gullin Trio) also died young about a decade or so ago.
    Mussolini first came to the attention of the music world when he won the first San Remo Jazz Festival. He wrote a book about his childhood in 2004 ( two years before his death) titled Il Duce Mio Padre ( Il Duce My Father) . Incidentally his daughter Alessandra ( with Loren’s sister Anna) entered Italian politics in recent years.
    A wonderful find today and as always Marty so beautifully written.

  2. delay plus chorus November 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    As usual a great writeup about a great artist. I think it’s cool that you went and paid homage at the spot of his death, I understand that impulse totally. Thanks too to Simone for add’l context!

    I suspect we’ll be reading a lot about Mr. Baker in the coming months, as the Guardian just reported that Ethan Hawke will play him in a biopic now in production: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/oct/24/ethan-hawke-trumpeted-for-chet-baker-biopic

    I think my favorite Chet Baker moment has to be “Born to be Blue.” He’s in fine form with vox, and the piano arrangement is amazing:

  3. fotheringportconvection November 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I obviously knew the name, but I had no idea…… thank you for the introduction.

  4. Woody November 24, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Fantastic music. Baker was something so extra.

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