$95.00 – $495.00
Chet Baker Caricature, shown here with a rare smile in 1978 in Germany, age 48.
Baker was an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist; Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals (Chet Baker Sings, It Could Happen to You). Jazz historian Dave Gelly described the promise of Baker’s early career as “James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one.” His well-publicized drug habit also drove his notoriety and fame. Baker was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and ’80s.
Baker performed with Vido Musso and Stan Getz before being chosen by Charlie Parker for a series of West Coast engagements.
In 1952, Baker joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet. Rather than playing identical melody lines in unison like Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Baker and Mulligan complemented each other with counterpoint and anticipating what the other would play next. “My Funny Valentine”, with a solo by Baker, became a hit and would be associated with Baker for the rest of his career. With the Quartet, Baker was a regular performer at Los Angeles jazz clubs such as The Haig and the Tiffany Club.
Hollywood studios saw an opportunity in Baker’s chiseled features. He made his acting debut in the film “Hell’s Horizon”, released in the fall of 1955. He declined a studio contract, preferring life on the road as a musician.
Baker started using heroin in the early 1950s. In 1966, Baker was beaten, allegedly while attempting to buy drugs, after performing at The Trident restaurant in Sausalito. He received cuts and some of his teeth were knocked out, ruining his embouchure and leaving him unable to play trumpet. He worked at a gas station until concluding that he had to find a way back to music.
After developing a new embouchure resulting from dentures in 1968, Baker returned to the straight-ahead jazz that began his career. However, those missing years proved fateful, with the surge of the British Invasion and rock and roll, the jazz genre was not as popular as it was in the late 1950’s.
From 1978, Baker lived and played almost exclusively in Europe, returning to the U.S. once a year for a few performances. This was Baker’s most prolific era as a recording artist.
In 1983, British singer Elvis Costello, a longtime fan of Baker, hired the trumpeter to play a solo on his song “Shipbuilding” for the album Punch the Clock. The song exposed Baker’s music to a new audience. Later, Baker often featured Costello’s song “Almost Blue” (inspired by Baker’s version of “The Thrill Is Gone”) in his concert sets, and recorded the song for “Let’s Get Lost”.
At 3am on May 13, 1988, Baker was found dead on the street below his hotel room in Amsterdam, with serious wounds to his head, apparently having fallen from the third floor window. Heroin and cocaine were found in his room and in his body. There was no evidence of a struggle, and the death was ruled an accident. The original assumption of suicide was undermined by the discovery that the window would open no more than 15 or 20 inches: not impossible to squeeze through, but awkward. The general belief now seems to be that he was murdered after a drug deal went wrong. He was 59.
All prints are produced using Giclee printing process which is used for archival art reproduction. This process uses fade-resistant archival pigment-based ink which lasts over 100 years. All prints are printed on 310GSM, Luxurious mould-made, 100% cotton rag Archival Certified watercolor paper.
Archival Conservation Mat is included with your purchase. Mat is a high quality, 4 ply (1/16″) surround mat. These frame mats are acid-free & Lignin-free made with 100% virgin alpha-cellulose surface, core and backing papers. So your caricature with mat will fit into a standard comparable frame either “20” x 24″ or “16” x 20″ depending on the print size, (frame not included). Price also includes a Backer Board.
32″ x 40″ stretch canvas print is produced by Giclee printing process and are hand stretched over heavy duty American made white pine. The canvas print is varnished twice after printing. The canvas prints are ready to hang (complete with hanging wire).
|Dimensions||16 × 20 × .25 in|
32" x 40" Stretched Canvas Prints $495, 11" x 14" Watercolor Print $95, 16" x 20" Watercolor Print $175