Chesney Henry Chet Baker, Jr. (December 23, 1929 May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and vocalist. Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals (Chet Baker Sings, It Could Happen to You). Jazz historian David Gelly described the promise of Baker's early career as James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one. His well-publicized drug habit also drove his notoriety and fame, Baker was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and '80s. Baker was born and raised in a musical household in Yale, Oklahoma; his father, Chesney Baker, Sr., was a professional guitar player, and his mother, Vera (n?e Moser) was a talented pianist who worked in a perfume factory. His maternal grandmother, Randi Moser, was Norwegian. Baker began his musical career singing in a church choir. His father introduced him to brass instruments with a trombone, which was replaced with a trumpet when the trombone proved too large. Baker received some musical education at Glendale Junior High School, but left school at age 16 in 1946 to join the United States Army. He was posted to Berlin, where he joined the 298th Army band. After leaving the army in 1948, he studied theory and harmony at El Camino College in Los Angeles. He dropped out in his second year, however, re-enlisting in the army in 1950. Baker became a member of the Sixth Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco, ...
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