Baker's Marijuana Bust & His Fateful Night At "Prins Hendrik Hotel" / The Lost Memoir

7 months ago

He smoked #Weed when he was so young but he never smoked with his father "Chesney Henry Baker Sr. ", who would smoke pot with other musicians a few times a week at the house, as his mother was very strict.

When he is riffing on "The Touch of Your Lips", he is reflecting, he’s giving us everything he has, and yet he seldom plays louder than a mezzo forte. A very controlled and clean sound.

A slow casual burn where life seems as fleeting as the flick of a joint. Did not really get any insight into his soul or attachment to his music just his immediate surroundings where Jazz and #Marijuana seemed synonymous.

Specializing in relaxed, even sadness music, Baker Jr. rose to prominence as a leading name in cool jazz in the 1950s. His good looks and smoldering, chummy singing voice confirmed him as a promising name in pop music as well.

(Dec 23, 1929 - May 13, 1988)

The American jazz trumpeter, flugelhorn player and singer "Chesney Henry Baker Jr." began his career in the early 1950's. He had several comebacks with such musicians as Jaspar, and Mulligan with whom he had already recorded, and he dominated the jazz scene working closely with the likes of Parker and Kenton.

By the sixties, his success was hampered, when he was charged for possession of #Cannabis, as he was sentenced to one year, 4 months and 5 days, and after he was imprisoned, he found himself caught in a downward spiral of heroin, cocaine, and another hard drugs, in and out of jail, in and out of relationships, crisscrossing the Atlantic in search of some sort of redemption.

Throughout his life, he returned again and again to the solace music offered, to the haven of his trumpet's smooth notes and his voice's low croon. Until his memoir, "As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir" these recordings were all we had. He did a lot of his recordings in Europe from the 1980's until he died in 1988 after falling from a hotel window!

Baker's Marijuana Bust / 1960

The American jazz trumpeter was sentenced for having illegally kept and having used #Pot, in Sep 1960. He served more than a year in prison in Italy on "Marijuana Charges", and was released from jail there Dec 1961.

He was later expelled from both West Germany and the UK for drug-related offenses, and was eventually deported from West Germany to the United States after running afoul of the law there a second time. He settled in Milpitas in northern California, where he played in San Jose and San Francisco between short jail terms served for prescription fraud.


Baker's Death / 1988

In the spring of 1988, he was slated to perform at a concert in Laren, Holland, which was being broadcast live across Europe. Before the show, the producer went to Baker’s hotel room to collect him, but he wasn’t there. He never missed a gig, he was too desperate for the money. So where is Baker!

They found him laying in a "Fetal Position" on the sidewalk outside a cheap hotel. Blood covered his face and his skull was crushed. At the scene, the police made a judgment that the dead man had jumped out of a window in the "Prins Hendrik Hotel", hitting his head on a concrete street post.

They determined that a room about 30 feet above where the body had been found, had been rented by Baker. They found two glasses, one with a hypodermic needle containing a gram of heroin and another with a mixture of heroin and cocaine, and he was shooting six grams of high-grade heroin, that caused his accidental death.

Baker’ was getting great reviews in DownBeat and other jazz publications. He was for a few years in the 1950s, the most popular jazz trumpeter in the world, playing with a delicate, almost ethereal lyricism.

According to "Deep in a Dream", that is one of the most harrowing biographies ever written, an unrelenting and merciless account of the musician as junkie, as after his pot's arrest in September 1960, Baker is spent chasing the next high and doing almost anything to get it.

He was a great trumpet and flugelhorn player, and even as time ravaged him physically, even in a heroin haze, his playing actually got better as he aged. Who knows how much longer he might have lived and continued playing had he not fallen, that tragic night at the "Prins Hendrik Hotel"?


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