Sneak Peek!
Chet Baker: Always Looking for the Light

(previous working title Chet Baker: The Later Years)

In this short excerpt from the upcoming 2nd volume of memoirs by bop drummer Artt Frank, he offers an insight into the virtuosity of Chet Baker’s style.

“Ready?” Chet asked, and called out to us and counted off the tune, “I Remember You,” in a medium up-tempo, and sang a chorus while Sal (Nistico) stood off to the side listening with a look of admiration on his face. Chet finished singing and just sat there, eyes closed, left leg crossed over the right, with his head resting on the hand holding the trumpet, listening and drinking up every note that Sal was laying down. We did another six to eight tunes and took our first break.
Chet would often get requests from his fans to play a tune he’d played the night before or even two sets ago. And each time he would phrase the melody differently. Chet had a ‘never repeat clause’ in his performance philosophy. Being a ‘total ear’ player, he could play the same tune ten times in a row and each time it would be completely different from the one before.”

Listen to the track, recorded live from the Renaissance II Club in Buffalo, NY Chet Baker (Vocals and Trumpet); Sal Nistico (Tenor sax); Lorne Lofsky (Guitar); Chris Conners (Bass); and Artt Frank (Drums), Nov. 11, 1984

WGF Panel – 01/13/2017

WGF Panel - 01/12/2017
Panelists (l-r): Monica Macer (Queen Sugar, OWN), Shernold Edwards (Hand of God, Amazon), Dawn Kamoche (Sharp Objects, HBO), Dee Harris-Lawrence (Star, FOX), Valerie Woods (Soul Food, Showtime)

The Writers Guild Foundation event, co-sponsored by Stephens College MFA in Television and Screenwriting on January 13, 2017, was a great success. The panel, moderated by writer and BooksEndependent publisher, Valerie C. Woods, engaged the participants with their wisdom, humor and real-world advice on the evening’s topic – “Writing Outside the Color Lines: Women Writers of Color or Storytelling and Perspective”. A lively Q&A following the discussion extended the evening past its scheduled ending time.

Thanks to Chris Kartje and Enid Portuguez at the WGF, and Ken LaZebnik and Khanisha Foster of Stephens College for a wonderful evening!

Sneak Peek
Chet Baker: The Later Years

Chet Baker: The Later Years
Here is a SNEAK PEEK from the 2nd volume in memoirist, Artt Frank’s book: “Chet Baker: The Later Years.” In this excerpt, Artt describes playing a gig with Chet (Trumpet), Drew Salperto (Piano), Mike Formanek (Bass) Artt Frank (Drums) at the Backstreet Club (New Haven, CT) in February 1980.

Burnin’ at Backstreet

“Drew announced Chet’s name and when we hit the stand, the entire room fell completely and totally silent. Without a word, Chet lifted the trumpet to his lips and began to play a Miles Davis composition called Tune up. The tempo he called was exquisitely perfect. I used brushes throughout the tune. As soon as we started playing together, the old magic we had on the stand at the Melody Room back in 1969 returned.

As far as Chet’s playing was concerned, it was definitely not of this earth. He played in the now, in the moment. For him, it was “the now” that was truly important. Nothing else seemed to matter. He wasn’t the kind to look ahead. For him, there was no future beyond the moment he was living and playing in. No permanency. Yet, the way he was playing this night filled my heart with both fear and exhilaration over the way he was attacking the tunes … Milestones, Blue ‘N’ Boogie, Stella by Starlight, Four. It was as though he wanted to prove to the critics that though they had often times given his sometimes frail body up for dead, he still had a lot of fire left in his heart and horn.

Was this the reason he was ripping off both long and short strings of sixteenth and thirty-second notes, creating necklaces of sheer melodic beauty, taking three, four and five choruses on each tune? Or was it because, as Chet had confessed to me on several occasions, that he had an uneasy feeling that each time he played, it could very well be his last night of playing, and he wanted to express it all? Whatever the reason, he was burnin!! I was burnin’! Drew and Mike Formanek were burnin’ and every other person in that club was burnin’ right along with us. Thank God Drew and I had the sense to record the first set, which has since been made into a CD, entitled, The Chet Baker QuartetBurnin’ at Backstreet.”

Listen to the full track recorded at Backstreet: