Documentary on the life of jazz trumpeter and drug addict Chet Baker.
A fan letter, a film noir, a study in self-deprecation… This is simply the finest jazz documentary ever made. Bruce Weber clearly idolises a subject who personifies the fading ’50s Beat spirit, but trumpeter Chet Baker refuses to expose his soul. He’s willing to have his ravaged looks photographed in a manner that suggests James Dean meets Dorian Gray, but he leaves the observations to the talking heads as he affects an air of moody magnificence, captured in Jeff Preiss’ inky, monochrome images. The archive footage of Baker as the cool king of West Coast jazz is compelling, yet Weber gets closest in some of Baker’s last gigs before he fell to his death from an Amsterdam hotel window in 1988.
This is simply the finest jazz documentary ever made.