It's rare to find a jazz musician who also sings (Louis Armstrong is the glaring exception), but trumpeter Chet Baker is arguably better known for his vocal songs now than for this trumpet playing. Part of the West Coast "cool" jazz movement, that also included Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan, the Oklahoma-born Baker was blessed with matinee idol looks and a singular voice that while limited, was enormously affecting and almost androgynous. He was cursed with a destructive streak and he had a serious drug problem, which led to him getting most of his teeth knocked out, as well as contributing (probably) to his death. This 20-song collection is a good introduction, bringing together some of his most popular songs. He got a late boost in life from Elvis Costello, who feature his trumpet playing on "Shipbuilding," (Baker would cover Costello's "Almost Blue), and from photographer Bruce Weber, who made a beautiful, poignant film about him shortly before he died called "Let's Get Lost," which is well worth seeking out.
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