SUPERB SHOW BRINGS CHET BAKER TO LIFE
Like so many of the shows brought to Hawke's Bay for the Blossom Festival, this one is top quality. It brings the life and death of Chet Baker, brilliant jazz musician of the mid 50s, to the stage in an extraordinary presentation that showcases musicianship and professionalism of the highest order. This one is not to be missed by anyone remotely interested in jazz or by anyone with a critical eye and ear for arrangements and interpretation of beautiful music.
David Goldthorpe, the epitome of the vision Baker had of himself even as drugs and age overtook him, glowed with those youthful good looks as he played the horn and sang his way through the narrative, accompanied by Donald Nicholson on piano, Rory Macartney on bass and Richard Wise on drums.
The sound is wonderful and deserves to be heard by many. From a very early age Chet Baker was recognised as a real jazz talent. His whole life was devoted to his music - and to heroin or whatever drugs he could lay his hands on, both passions working as opposing addictions until he was unable to play because of his drug addiction.
As is so often the case, musicians of such talent were like two people, one who could compose and play like an angel, and the other a demonic character which would eventually destroy the talent. Tormented by paranoia and hopelessly inadequate relationships, Baker also had a violent side that contradicted his sweet melodies.
Goldthorpe, in researching Baker's life story, has placed, as the object of his love songs, the various drugs that he was so desperate to use with such frightening intensity, a view that seems legitimate, given the contradictory and disturbing behaviour of the man.
Without standing on either side of the fence, but not sidestepping the issues and essence of such a man, Like Someone in Love gives a straightforward history of some of the known events of a life that had hardly a dull moment, was peppered with convictions and deportations, violence and imprisonment, but laced with some lovely jazz melodies that came out of the last century.
The obvious and enviable talents of the band and Goldthorpe rate this a five-star evening's entertainment and the band played on, quite literally, for a good 30 minutes afterwards to a rapt audience.
Reviewed by Amanda Jackson, HAWKE'S BAY TODAY
Hastings, NZ - Wednesday September 16th, 2009