[JPL] A Jazzman So Cool ...Here's another take, from the Village Voice...

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 8 15:44:50 EDT 2007


Here's another take, from the Village Voice, making no
pose of jazz fandom...Chet and Weber both as pop
icons... 


Lost Boy
MIA for 14 years, Bruce Weber's stunning Chet Baker
portrait resurfaces at Film Forum
by Jim Ridley
June 6th, 2007 12:22 PM 

Band chic: Chet Baker
photo: William Claxton/Courtesy of Little Bear 

Films/Film Forum.
Let's Get Lost
Directed by Bruce Weber
June 8 through 28, Film Forum 

Call it The Death of the Cool. Shot as the vinyl LP
was nearing the off ramp to oblivion, as rap and MTV
were shoving jazz even farther to the margins, Let's
Get Lost stands as a gorgeous gravestone for the Beat
Generation's legacy of beautiful-loser chic. Bruce
Weber's transfixing 1988 portfolio of the
artist—ravaged jazz trumpeter Chet Baker—as a junkie
wraith unmoored in time seems doubly poignant almost
20 years later, when the bloom of its own newness is
gone. 
Let's Get Lost, which has been MIA for 14 years and
has resisted collectible enshrinement on DVD, remains
a stunning object of scrutiny in its new Film Forum
revival. It's the music doc as film noir, with a
vampirish city-of-night gleam that suits the subject
and his darkly romantic sound. All these years later,
the inky shadows and stabbing high-contrast light of
Jeff Preiss's black-and-white camera work still look
as if they'd been freshly dredged from the undertow of
Baker's long good-bye. 

In his 1950s heyday, Baker had epitomized West Coast
"cool jazz." As a vocalist, his high-pitched,
low-volume crooning was edgily intimate: If Sinatra
were said to be singing from the next barstool, Baker
sang from the adjacent pillow. It wasn't lost on
record execs and magazine editors (and a succession of
exasperated women) that he had camera-hugging
pretty-boy-pugilist looks—a provocative combination of
soft and hard, an admirer tells Weber, in an age that
prized jock masculinity. 

By the time of filming, smack had turned Baker's
dreamboat face to a drawn, hollow-cheeked death mask.
Yet there is beauty in the vestigial traces where
beauty has been—and the impermanence of beauty is
Weber's true subject. Let's Get Lost artfully
intercuts brooding studies of the gaunt latter-day
Baker, shortly before he fell to his death from an
Amsterdam hotel window in 1988, with bits of pop
ephemera made priceless by his decline. Here is Baker,
fucked-up and frail, propped like a haggard prince
between babes in a convertible's backseat; here is
Baker, movie-star luscious, young forever in clips
from The Steve Allen Show and the Italian B-movie
Urlatori alla sbarra. Which is the ghost, and which is
the haunted? 

The haunted, of course, is Weber, who addresses
Baker's ex-wives and girlfriends with the tone of
someone bound to them by a secret love. Baker emerges
as the ideal Weber has pursued throughout his career:
When his other subjects appear in cameos, from Broken
Noses boxer Andy Minsker to Chris Isaak, their
similarity practically turns them into doppelgängers
reveling in the youth that Baker had long since pissed
away. But his is a clear-eyed love. Baker, a practiced
manipulator, comes across as not only an addict but an
addiction: As his torch-singer ex Ruth Young tartly
puts it, "It took me about 20 minutes to get hooked."
For first-time viewers of Weber's entrancing
after-hours mood piece, it won't take nearly that
long. 

http://www.villagevoice.com/film/0723,ridley,76872,20.html
 

 

--- Lazaro Vega <wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com> wrote:

> This Week's JPL Sponsor: MC Promotion
> 
> Mike Carlson: mcpro at earthlink.net -- (800) 729-7450
> 
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> 
> 
> 
> Yeah, Roy, thanks for posting it. No flies on you.
> 
> Noticed Hal Galper and Gene Bertoncini both include
> pieces dedicated
> to Baker on their recent recordings.....
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> 
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