Let's Get Lost
- Miles Fielder
- 5 June 2008
One of the girlfriends of the late legend of the cool school of jazz once observed, ‘Chet Baker sure knew how to get lost.’ Aside from knowing how to get lost in his music (being a brilliantly intuitive trumpet player), Baker was also very adept at getting lost when he took off on the road or stuck a needle in his arm, as he did often and for most of his life in both instances. Perhaps taking his cue from the subject of his excellent film (which is being re-released on its 20th anniversary), director/photographer Bruce Weber fashioned a highly unconventional documentary that follows Baker from the West to the East coast of America and on to Europe during what sadly turned out to be the last year of his life.
There’s little in the way of straightforward interviews with Baker in the film. Instead, Weber films Baker, prematurely aged by narcotics but still cool as, hanging out in various venues, blowing his horn in a recording studio, cruising down an ocean boulevard in the back of a convertible, etc. These loosely improvised episodes are intercut with archive footage of Baker when he was a beautiful kid in the 1950s, recollections by the people that knew him, and esoteric shots of dogs playing on the beach and kids goofing around. It all adds up to a dreamy portrait of a superb but doomed musician, the structure of which emerges as a series of improvisations on a theme. Much like the man’s music, appropriately enough.