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Update August 22nd 2013
I caught the Thursday night performance of this show, and it's a seductive mix of crooning, trumpet, and well-told narrative. Plus, after intermission, you get a solid set of jazz from a tight quartet. Highly recommended.
For jazz lovers and theatre fans
The turbulent life and liquid sounds of American jazz trumpeter Chet Baker will come to Brisbane this month, when actor and musician David Goldthorpe brings his show Chet Baker: Like Someone in Love to QUT's Gardens Theatre from 22-23 August.
Baker shot to fame in the 1950s for his extraordinary trumpeting talent, playing early gigs with jazz luminaries like Stan Getz and Charlie Parker. He later joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which had a hit with their dreamy version of 'My Funny Valentine', still an understated work of genius today. (Play the track below to see what I mean.) Baker was also a singer, with a beguilingly smooth voice that only broadened his appeal.
But I'm sure you know what's coming, right? Yup. Jazz dude, 1950s, great success ... Baker quickly acquired a heroin addiction that was to see him in and out of prison, pawning instruments, beaten up, and more, over the next three decades. Still, he had something of a comeback in the 1980s (including playing with Elvis Costello), and maintained a musical career right up until he fell to his death from an Amsterdam hotel window in 1988.
New Zealand actor David Goldthorpe was so intrigued by Baker's story that he wrote a show about him, and learned trumpet in order to be able to play the role himself. First staged at the Wellington Fringe Festival in 2007, the show has since toured New Zealand and is now making its way around Australia, with plenty of positive reviews.
Goldthorpe is joined on stage by a trio featuring double bass, drums and keyboard, and the narrative of Baker's very messy life is juxtaposed with plenty of beautiful music.
While Baker is not a particularly sympathetic character, I'm sure the show will make interesting viewing. Throw in the bonus of some great jazz standards, and you have a don't-miss-it event for jazz fans and for theatre-goers who like something a bit different. Plus the Gardens Theatre is one of my favourite venues for a show like this.