Chesney Henry "Chet" Baker Jr. (December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz musician.
Raised in a musical household (his father was a guitar player), and coming to age during the bebop era of jazz, Baker found success as a trumpet player in 1951 when he was chosen by Charlie Parker to play with him on a series of West Coast dates. In 1952, Baker joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which lasted less than a year due to Mulligan's arrest for drugs. Over the next few years, Baker fronted his own combo, both playing trumpet and singing.
In the early 60's, drug addiction caught up with Baker and his promising musical career declined as a result. Heroin addiction created a myriad of legal problems for him as well; he ended up serving more than a year in prison in Italy, and was later expelled from both West Germany and England for drug related offenses. He was eventually deported to the United States from West Germany after running afoul of the law there a second time. In 1966, he was severely beaten after a gig in San Francisco. Accounts of the story vary, largely to Baker's lack of reliable testimony on the matter.
Baker recorded extensively throughout his career, due to the overwhelming need for money. As a result, his discography is considered widely uneven.
In the 1970's, Baker was allowed to return to Europe. He resided and played almost exclusively there for the remainder of his life. On May 13, 1988, he fell from his second story hotel window in Amsterdam and died. He most probably was under the influence of drugs. A plaquette outside the hotel memorizes him. His body was brought home for internment in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.