My Funny (and very sad) Valentine

I suppose I should make some concession to Valentine’s Day, so here’s the classic 1954 Chet Baker version of the Rodgers & Hart tune My Funny Valentine. This was a big hit during the period when jazz switched from the frenetic pace and jagged angularity of bebop to the smooth cocktail bar sounds of the Cool School; its popularity owed as much to Baker’s youthful good looks and attractive singing voice as to the trumpet solo on this recording.

But that was 1954. A lifelong addiction to heroin exacted a terrible toll on Chet Baker. Here’s a harrowing and heart-rending reprise of My Funny Valentine recorded, just a year before his death, at a concert in Tokyo in 1987.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

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