CHET BAKER

WRITTEN BY
Keith Harris

Chet Baker / Photo by Getty Images

Best known for his distinctive takes on "My Funny Valentine," which he first recorded as a member of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, this white heartthrob crooner and trumpeter epitomized '50s West Coast cool jazz. Before a junk habit torpedoed his career (even as it bolstered his moody image), Baker crafted an indelible style: a gauzy romanticism given palpable shape by his unwavering commitment to melody. Baker is a touchstone for Animal Collective's ability to unite the textural and the tuneful.

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