quite an honor
Today I was awarded a great honor. I was named to the honorary board of directors of the Chet Baker foundation. Included on that are such luminaries as Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner.......My musical accomplishments are really quite small compared to these greats. But they are all people who appreciated Chet Baker's, for want of a better term,magic.
Joseph Campbell wrote in his book "Myths to Live By" that the most important conduit for new forces or energies to come into society was the artist. That they were the shamans and alchemists of today. The bringing in of new energies is also what I term magic, as that is what not only maintains such qualities as beauty, true power, purity but also allows in the possibility for change and growth and eventually, transformation.
So in my book Chet Baker was a magician. It was revealed to me recently that my major line is the archetype of the mage. Even though I am a sports fan, my major interest in sports has always been people like Earl Monroe and Joe Montana, who worked a magic in their fields. And I like to see this magic through the body, not just the theoretical side of it. Sacred knowledge embodied. So this is probably why I feel so close to Chet and his music. The other day I went into a Starbucks and ordered a coffee drink for "Jack". It came back to me for "Chet". Cool and somewhat eerie.
For me Baker's music opens up a whole other universe. Lyrical. Free. Beautiful. Expressive. Yet powerful. Some of his soft notes just burn and don't stop. And this extends to his vocals. There are other great artists. Yet for me Chet's
sound and phrasing and use of silence are unique and touch me very deeply. Outside of Ueshiba Osensei's aikido, I don't know if I've ever been so touched by an artist.
And I would like to thank Artt Frank. Without him this honor would not have been possible. Artt has just finished a book about Chet which I hope will be available soon. I was privileged to look at the manuscript while I was in Arizona. And this is being turned into a film. If I were producing the film I would emphasize the aspect of Chet as magician. There is enough magic in his music and life I am sure some of this will come through.
The word universe is translated as "the one song". My current sense is that if the universe is the one song, it is bebop. Bebop has to do with the 2's and 4's and 4's and 8's and 3's and 4's. I thank Artt for awakening me to a ground level sense of this during my visit in December. But this is very close to the numbering Osensei used in his diagrams of aikido. And make no mistake. What Chet Baker played was bebop.
I recently heard this rendition of California Dreaming by Bud Shank. When I heard the trumpet my sense was"Whoever was playing was really influenced by Chet Baker. Or I must have Chet Baker on the brain." I looked and it turned out to be none other than Chet himself. Enjoy!