Jeroen de Valk: Chet Baker, His Life And Music (Aspekt)
de Valk has revised his 2000 biography of the trumpeter. The new version includes a comprehensive index that is helpful to readers. It has a selection of new photographs of Baker on the bandstand, with family, and in times of trouble growing out of the heroin addiction that more than once made him a subject of sensational news coverage. de Valk emphasizes that the musician did not consider drugs a problem; to him they were simply a part of the way he chose to live his life. de Valk is not a Baker apologist. He is unsparing in evaluating disastrous comeback albums like Albert’s House and a series of Tijuana Brass knockoffs. He places Baker in the jazz spectrum as “…an isolated phenomenon, a one-of-a-kind. He was not a big innovator – he just invented his own playing.” That’s achievement enough, one would think.