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As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir by Chet Baker

This scant memoir of barely 20,000 words, evidently taped around 1978, finds the trumpeter dwelling on his halcyon (pre-heroin) youth, 1948-1960. His preoccupation with boyhood girlfriends, cars and muscle assure the autobiographical authenticity, as do certain Chetian phrases and cadences. A friend’s Spider “went like hell-when it ran.” His dad’s “disappointment [in his trumpet playing] diminished little by little…-see, he liked Bix, too.” On firing drummer Peter Littman: “He was acting too strange.”

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