One of the foremost jazz trumpet players of the 1950's, he was born Chesney Henry Baker in Yale, Oklahoma, on Dec. 23, 1929. He first played trumpet as a teenager in an Army Band. The 1950's found him in San Francisco, where he sat in on jam sessions at Bop City and the Blackhawk where he encountered Paul Desmond and Charlie Parker. Later he was a member of the Jerry Mulligan Quartet. After severe struggles with heroin addiction which put his career into a downspin, Baker recovered and made excellent recordings again, and was noted for his lyrical horn style as well as his vocals. He died in May of 1988 when he fell out of a hotel window in Amsterdam.
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