Artt Frank, Chet Baker: The Missing Years, A Memoir
Frank’s personalized story is a valuable adjunct to James Gavin’s dark biography of Baker, Matthew Ruddick’s balanced bio and Jeroen de Valk’s exploration of the trumpeter’s music making. In an unpolished, conversational narrative, the drummer tells of his long friendship with the trumpeter and of sharing exhilarating high points and depressing low points in Baker’s life. In more than one sense, Frank was instrumental in Baker’s late-1960s comeback. He arranged for an engagement that tested whether Baker could still play following a brutal beating, and he was the drummer on the gig. His closeness to Baker gave Frank opportunities to observe him as a husband and father, the tribulations of his drug addiction and the fierce determination that underlay the fragmented pattern of Baker’s existence. Full disclosure: I wrote a blurb for the book jacket.