So What

Chet Baker

 

The legendary trumpeter in top form in 1963

Chet Baker had been a jazz star for a decade at the time of this telecast, but it is fair to say that he had not a conventional career.

After becoming famous for his work with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet during 1952-53, Baker was successful with his own quartet but his drug addiction made his life and career erratic.

He spent much of 1959-63 living in Europe before heading back to the U.S. in 1964.

This performance, from Nov. 26, 1963 (it was aired on TV the following year), was his last to be documented in Europe before his return home, and it features Baker in Belgium with a top-notch quintet most notable for the inclusion of pianist Rene Urtreger and altoist Jacques Pelzer.

The group, with Baker on flugelhorn, performs a fine version of Miles Davis’ “So What.”

Personnel:

Chet Baker, flugelhorn
Jacques Pelzer, alto
Rene Urtreger, piano
Luigi Trussardi, bass
Franco Manzecchi, drums

-Scott Yanow