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Yale, Oklahoma, to honor native son Chet Baker with inaugural jazz festival
(Published: September 02, 2015)

World renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist and native Oklahoman Chet Baker is getting some hometown love.

Yale will launch the first Chet Baker Jazz Festival on Oct. 10. The festival will run from 4-10 p.m. in downtown Yale, about 45 minutes west of Tulsa. The festival is free and open to the public.

The event will feature stories and music from Baker as well, teaching those in attendance about the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame inductee.

"We want to celebrate Chet's art and legacy beginning this year and, hopefully, in the years to come," said Louis Smitherman, Yale city manager.

Baker was born in 1929 in Yale. In 1946, he left school at 16 to join the U.S. Army where he was assigned to play in an Army band. He was assigned to the San Francisco area in the 1950s and started playing in clubs there. His commercial rise started as a member of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet and with the hit "My Funny Valentine." He went on to form other groups and his own quartet in the mid-1950s.
Baker struggled with drugs during most of his career, serving jail time and suffering from an assault that broke his teeth and affected his ability to play for some time. During the late '70s until his death, Baker performed mostly in Europe with occasional shows in the United States while recording extensively during the time. Baker died in 1988 in Amsterdam.
The festival is sponsored in part by the City of Yale, the Yale Chamber of Commerce, the Chet Baker Estate LLC and the Chet Baker Foundation.

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