Yes, I was there when it happened;

The day he died.

I was always there, he depended on me,

And I didn’t ever fail him; did I?

This man chosen by The Bird to play in his band;

Dizzy wanted him, and bebop rang out,

Loud and long, until that day

When he was joined with Gerry,

And the Quartet struck gold.

And that is when I joined him, this man

Who could play like a nightingale,

And sing like an angel.

All the time I was there, supporting this man,

Never left him, followed him all over the world.

He played those gentle tunes that we know

With a sound so mellow, that the birds stopped to listen.

That day when he went looking for me,

The saddest of all, beaten to a pulp;

No longer able to play for months but he found me,

I wasn’t far away that day but not close enough

To protect him.

But he came back and the music swelled again

From this genius of Jazz.

Then came that day in Amsterdam;

Just the two of us in the hotel room.

I as ever supporting him

As he injected me into his arm.

He got up and stumbled, and as he fell from the window,

I was still there, when his eyes closed forever.

  • Author: Goldfinch60 (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: May 13th, 2020 01:21
  • Comment from author about the poem: Today, 13th May, is the day that Chet Baker died in Amsterdam in 1988. There is some question about whether he jumped from the hotel window or stumbled out, at the time he was in a good place in his life so I believe he stumbled out. I wrote this poem back in 2014 after we had been to see a one man play about Chet Baker. As many of you know Chet Baker is my absolute favourite trumpeter so as far as I am concerned Chet will be playing for me all day today.
  • Category: Reflection
  • Views: 17
  • User favorite of this poem: dusk arising.


  • orchidee

    A fine write Gold.

  • dusk arising

    Your writing at it's best again here Goldfinch.
    An amazing angle you have taken here to adopt the personna of the golden brown smack which entered his veins.
    Though i love his ability to play trumpet as if from a cloud afar saluting the theme of the song yet taking it in ownership to somewhere new, it was his singing voice in his later years which captured me. So much living comes through in that voice. He was a handsome man and a star so much living had been done.
    In learning more about this man i was astounded to find that he was not a reader of music but was quite capable of taking his place in orchestras and bands, as he did in his early career.
    Truly one of the greats. Anyone who does not know his music, play a few of his recordings and you will see how his style becomes a late relaxed evening and seduces your pleasure zones.

    OUTSTANDING tribute Goldfinch and a must for my favs.

    • Goldfinch60

      What a wonderful reply d a, I am so grateful, I have read and seen a great deal about him so I knew he couldn't read music and in his very early career was dismissed as a musician until he was heard, they all wanted him then. It is a pity he and Gerry Mulligan didn't do more but they had a falling out which was such a pity.
      One of the trumpeters that I have heard at Pershore Jazz Club, Jamie Brownfield started playing on one occasion and I though Chet was back!

      Chet has a sound of his own which will never be bettered as far as I am concrned.


    • Neville

      A magnificent tribute GF60.. some folk truly deserve to be remembered and what better way than in a dedicated poem such as this,


      • Goldfinch60

        Thank you Neville, he is well worth remembering

      • Fay Slimm.

        Fantastic personification Andy - - the best of talent yet given to toxic "help" in order to cope with demands of the public no doubt.......... you told Chet's story so well and like you he still lights up my listening time...........

        • Goldfinch60

          Thank you Fay, a wonderful trumpeter who will live on in our lives forever.


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