"Looking For Chet Baker", by Bill Moody. This is a book which I had to read. Chet Baker was my favorite trumpet player in the Fifties. I enjoyed his playing on numerous occasions, first with Gerry Mulligan’s piano-less quartet at the Haig, a jazz club across from the Ambassador Hotel, at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Kenmore (alas, neither exists anymore), and later with his own quartet with Russ Freeman. He burst across the jazz world like a Roman candle going off. In those days, Baker was twenty-something and too good-looking, in that the young honeys I and my friends took to hear the groups were far too attracted to him. The plot of this story is built around the fact that, like Benny Moten and Wardell Gray before him, Baker died under questionable circumstances. His body was found in an alley beneath the fourth floor window of his hotel room in Amsterdam . The questions ever since have been, did he fall, was he pushed, or did he jump? The author was unknown to me. He is reported to be a music critic and jazz drummer. This is the fifth book in his series featuring a jazz pianist crime-solver, Evan Horne. Horne gets unwillingly dragged into helping a friend who is writing a book about Baker, and needs help in trying to resolve the above questions about Baker’s death. More crimes occur and the track gets dangerous. It is an interesting story (at least to me as an old time admirer of Baker’s playing, while deploring his frazzled, drug addicted lifestyle), well-told, with some insight into the world of jazz musicians. Mr. Moody has also created an engaging foil for Horne in the person of an elderly, formerly famous long-time expatriate, black tenor sax man, patterned on Ben Webster and/or Dexter Gordon. An introduction to the book was written by Russ Freeman, the pianist in the Chet Baker Quartet. He composed the original numbers for the group, appears to have been the person with sufficient responsibility and executive skills to keep the group going, and was among the handful of pianists I really liked, not being another Art Tatum or Bud Powell clone. He stated in part that Baker: Contrary to rumor, could read music, but not well enough for studio work, had no knowledge of harmonics and could not tell you what notes were in a chord. What he had was an incredible ear and intuition. Was irresponsible and inconsiderate of other people - but he could play. Was a drug abuser for all but eighteen of his fifty-eight years - but he could play. Loved fast cars and drove too fast - but he could play. Freeman stated that he had enjoyed the book and the fact that it gave some insight into the jazz life (which I knew he had left to devote himself to composing). That was good enough for me to latch onto the book. An entertaining read. I will try another in the series.