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Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker Hardcover – 23 May 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (23 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070116381X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701163815
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.2 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 837,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Much of Baker's work was unique and remains haunting. All the more haunting after reading this book" (Sunday Independent)

"Detailed and perceptive" (Economist)

"It reads like true life... Gavin is very good" (Time Out)

"Detailed... Critically assured and never allows the cool of the icon to occlude the venality of the individual" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Baker's impact lives on even now - sexy, angelic, needy, icy and enigmatic... Gavin's book captures Baker's journey from the golden promise of his youth to his seedy end in Amsterdam in mesmerising detail" (Irish Independent) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'The definitive biography' Mail on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jun. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Although the story of Chet Baker, one of the most distinctive and original jazz trumpeters of all time, has been told before, for instance in Baker's own memoir As Though I Had Wings, in Bruce Weber's documentary film Let's Get Lost, and in the biography by Jeroen de Valk, Deep In A Dream by James Gavin offers the most comprehensive study so far. The book works on a number of levels: not only is it an in-depth jazz biography, it is, possibly more importantly, a classic study of the gaping chasm between fantasy and reality, certainly regarding the early part of Baker's career. There is no doubt that Baker was an exceptional jazz musician, but when he became a star at the age of twenty three, the "James Dean of Jazz", this had more to do with his image than his musical ability. The image was largely a result of the work of West Coast photographer William Claxton, who had an epiphany as he watched Baker's face emerge in his photographic developing tray. Claxton felt that he had never known the meaning og the word "photogenic" until he photographed Baker, who in reality " ... Had one tooth missing, so he looked a little dopey ... but then you put him in front of a camera and he became a movie star." When people looked at Baker's pictures on the covers of his records, as author Gavin says, "They projected all kinds of fantasies onto him. They imagined a wounded child in need of mothering, a seductive devil luring them into trouble, a dark prophet of doom, or the ultimate soulful male." Baker's record producer found in a marketing survey that most of Baker's fans were girls who were interested in his wispy ballad singing, not his jazz playing.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By adrian on 16 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In many ways this is a very sad book when you come to examine the tragic life of one of the most lyrical modern jazz trumpeters.
How someone who played such beautiful music could have such a mixed up life is hard to fathom. James Gavins's book is a no holds barred portrayal of a life full of initial promise which simply went to waste because of drug abuse.
It is not all about his addiction, which seemed to overshadow his life, however, as it has some lighter moments although Baker seemed doomed from a not-too-young age.
Well worth reading if you want an insight on this enigmatic character who started out as a very handsome young man and ended up a physical wreck, almost dead before he died you could say.
Those who would consider dabbling in drugs should read this book to see the harm drugs do, and the effects they have on the user, and which taint all those around them as well.
A sad life, well covered, and for those who, like me, love his music, it is a must read.
There are copious notes and also a 10 page discography, which lists his albums (but does not give song titles or personnel) at the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. J. Staffell on 2 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Once in a while, I come across a book (and I generally ONLY read biographies) which stir me up and send my thoughts off in new and ultimately productive directions. This is just such a book. This chronicle of Chet Baker's journey from the cradle to the grave is depressing, harrowing, evocative, funny, uplifting, thought provoking, and always intense. Read in conjunction with listening to his music, it becomes a kind of poem to the spirit of music. I cannot recommend it highly enough, but it won't be for everybody... suffice to say that despite the tragedy of his day to day existence, and his ultimate demise, this man drew, and continues to draw, a lot of people into the soulful musical universe that he created. and in doing so enriches all of our lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SueOL on 30 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thoroughly detailed, events described and ordered chronologically, the author used interviews with close friends and acquaintances. Possibly the closest you can get to the true character and experiences of Chet Baker
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