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Art & Architecture



By: Claxton, William
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Chet Baker was just twenty-two when he was discovered by Charlie Parker in 1951. It was the heyday of the California jazz scene, and the handsome, brooding young trumpeter skyrocketed to fame. During a glorious period that stretched from 1952 to 1957 Baker, the "James Dean of jazz, " captured the hearts and soul of a generation that was infatuated with "cool, " yet deeply moved by the musician's underlying tone of seductive melancholy.

Among Baker's admirers was jazz photographer William Claxton, who accompanied Chet to concerts, performances and studio sessions. His photos show a dreamily introverted musician whose charisma and appearance matched the suggestiveness of his art. And they document a vibrant period in our country's musical history, when youth and beauty ruled the day, and which paved the way for America's obsession with glamorous, fast-living entertainers. Reprinted in an attractive smaller format, and accompanied by Claxton's affecting, personal memories of Baker, these photographs document not just an artist at work, but friendship in the making.