Friday, February 11, 2011

My Funny, poignant Valentine

It's that time of year beloved by chocolatiers, florists, greeting card companies, restaurants and lingerie purveyors here is a little musical interlude courtesy of a talented young trumpet player and vocalist...

I consider Chet Baker the definitive interpreter of this classic tune. He has that heart wrenching, wistful yearning quality that makes the song so sweet but sad. Especially when you get to know his history - see the handsome young man here with his matinee idol looks and a very bright future before him. Part of the "Cool Jazz" scene of the West Coast in the 1950's it wouldn't be long before his heroin addiction took it's toll - not only on his good looks but his playing ability - losing his front teeth in a fight in the 1960s.

Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet BakerI got an opportunity to hear Chet not long before his tragically short life in the 1980s in Edmonton. In one of Marc Vasey's brilliant moves he was booked into a brunch - I believe in a restaurant in the Citadel theatre with local players including Bob Stroup, a local trombone legend. Chet needed the use of a methadone clinic - but I remember being mesmerized by his performance and not realizing the importance of his slight, gaunt figure...incredible.

I suggest checking out the Bruce Weber documentary "Let's Get Lost" or a bio I read recently - James Gavin's "Deep in a Dream" .

I am working on a song that I think he did a lovely version of as well "I Get Along Without You Very Well" - by the great Hoagy Carmichael - it once again proves you don't need the screechy pyrotechnics to deliver the emotions of a song.

Before I leave you with this - I might mention another talented young male vocalist named Ori Dagan has a gig at Gate 403 tomorrow from noon - 3 p.m. and is performing at a special vocal extravaganza - GNO All Star Vocal Showcase III  - from 6 - 9 at Chalkers Pub - featuring the likes of Bonnie Brett, Sophia Perlman, Jen Sagar, Beverly Taft, Fern Lindzon - did I mention it was also a fundraiser? Now that's true love!

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