RAW: Cabaret Festival – Freeway – The Chet Baker Journey – 4K

Tim Draxl assumes the role of both narrator and sometimes also the genius himself in this tribute to the man once known as the ‘James Dean of Jazz’.

From earliest days to his death in Amsterdam 23 years ago at the age of 58, Draxl and friends, Ray Aldridge (piano and direction), Dave Ellis (on bass), (both of whom looked they may have been Baker’s science teachers from school) with Eamon McNelis of trumpet take us on a journey that explains, exclaims and then covers the extinction of the sexy, isolated, drug addled Chet Baker.

Tim Draxl, in black suit, white shirt, thin black tie, does an excellent job, mixing the narration and signing with a style and look that certainly well mimicked the subject matter of the show. Intensely personalising his renditions (drawing his own tears as well as those of members of the audience) without melodramatics, Draxl left none in no doubt why Baker, the eternal wanderer, enjoyed the attention (Bruce Webber loved to photograph him) and recognition of the jazz world as well as of a broader fan base, even if his story ultimately was one of tragedy.

Highlights for this reviewer were Foolish Things, I was Born To Be Blue and the opening number, My Funny Valentine.

This is top flight cabaret, not without risk to present a tribute in such a mirrored way for both Draxl and McNelis but both succeed admirably.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

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