This remarkable footage shows Chet Baker in perfect form. The year was 1964 and he was already well into his heroin habit, with a missing tooth proof of the life he’d been living. Yet, he was also experiencing intense levels of focus on a European tour that saw him join forces with the best musicians on the continent.
Here, they gather in Liège, Belgium, for a show that blends the light tone and relaxed tempo of Miles Davis’ cool jazz with the sheer romanticism Chet couldn’t help but release. Serge Leroy’s direction is spectacular, allowing the camera to linger in close-up on Chet’s face, or zoom out from the bell of his flugelhorn as he plays.
Whether on his horn or singing, Chet shows just why his name reverberates through the generations. On standards like “Time After Time” he is simply magnetic, radiating beauty and vulnerability. Two years after this performance Chet received a beating that knocked the rest of his teeth out, extinguishing the fragile flame of his best years.
Sonuma Archives 1962