Chet: The Lyrical Trumpet of Chet Baker (1959)

1960s: Days of Rage


“… Despite all the grief Baker put record label executives (and club owners) through with his serial requests for cash, most of the people he dealt with had an abiding affection for him—partly because of his artistry, partly because of his charm and vulnerability. Riverside’s Orrin Keepnews, however, was an exception. He detested Baker. Baker was signed to Riverside by Keepnews’ business partner, Bill Grauer, who saw dollar signs when he heard Baker sing. In his liner notes for a posthumous reissue of Chet, Keepnews says he did not like Baker’s singing but felt obliged to go along with Grauer’s wishes. ‘Before long,’ Keepnews continued, ‘[Baker] had achieved the distinction of forcing me to switch my home phone to an unlisted number’ in order to avoid small-hours phone calls begging for immediate cash. Baker was one night caught trying to break into Riverside’s stockroom, from which he planned…

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