Looking for my FUNNY VALENTINE
by Norman Warwick
The Jazz In Europe magazine (right) is produced quarterly and is available as a full-colour glossy publication. The magazine features interviews with European and International jazz musicians as well as interesting articles related to the world of jazz. The magazine is perfect bound (glued spine) and printed on 100 grams gloss paper with the cover on 350-gram gloss card. And sealed in clear plastic for protection. The magazine is ordered online via our Jazz In Europe webshop. Delivered direct to your door. Order NOW!
And if that product description isn´t enough to convince you I should also tell you that when scouring the archives my attention was caught by a jazz article and a book review and, music and literature being so close to my heart I had to pause for a while to read it. I may have arrived slightly late in life for developing this taste for jazz, and for this artist and this book in particular, but those good folk at Jazz In Europe and we here at the blog site and our jazz-presenter friends at FC Radio radio believe there is never a bad time to shout about something wonderful.
The artist is Chet Baker and the book is Funny Valentine, a biography of the musician written by Matthew Ruddick. Jazz In Europe carried a positive and comprehensive review of the book recently.
As our readers will be aware, a comprehensive review always sits well with me, so I strongly recommend to you the magazine, the book and the review. In fact, so enthused was I following my reading of the piece that I have asked my fellow joined up journalist, Steve Bewick to play the title track of Funny Valentine on his FC Radio show, Hot Biscuits available at
Much has been written, discussed, filmed and debated about the life of the legend Chet Baker, say Jazz In Europe so, like them, I am in absolute awe of anyone who finds the courage – and has the right skills – to undertake such an important and complex subject.
Matthew Ruddick focusses on three elements that he felt had previously been missing from the critiques of Chet Baker, the man´s humanity, his appreciation of others and his heroism, so he delves into Chet’s life from every angle with sincerity and transparency, revealing Chet in all of his many colours. Jazz In Europe describe the book as ´a hugely welcome and necessary addition to the existing work.
Matthew explores Chet’s great work with the poor, analysing these issues through interviews and quotes from reliable sources and the author´s dedication and meticulous research is evident throughout. Where is Chet’s place in Jazz history and why? These are huge questions and ones that are thoroughly explored, from every angle. As you would expect, Matthew explores Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis’ (left) scathing thoughts on Chet’s work and when Ian Carr, author of Miles Davis: the Definitive Biography says ‘But the most important thing about music is feeling; Miles could move people to tears’ Matthew, steps in and subtly but poignantly, makes it clear that ‘one could make the same argument about Chet’s playing’. His love, respect and understanding of Chet’s work stands proud throughout the book.
The forever open and never answered question of can we and should we separate Art from the Artist, (as asked in our archived article Standing Between Art And The Artist 21st January 2021) is forever present although in the case of Chet Baker, the author wonders why we should even have to ask. Chet is his Art and Matthew shows us this unquestionable connection in no uncertain terms. Drummer John Engels says beautifully that ‘Chet is important because of the music. How can I explain? He made you cry inside. It has to do with the heart, the soul’.
Matthew Ruddick, (left) who is also the co-founder and editor in chief of the Kind of Jazz Website is currently working on a new book and although the subject is top secret at the moment, it will no doubt, be superb. In the meantime, if you are looking for a beautifully written exploration, celebration and a deeper understanding of Chet Baker, this is the book for you. Published by Melrose Books with a cover design by Catherine McIntyre, Funny Valentine can be purchased Matthew Ruddick directly at firstname.lastname@example.org Paperback edition available for £15 +P&P but collectors and enthusiasts might like to know that there also twenty limited edition hardbacks available, which come signed and numbered available for £40.
Meanwhile Look out for our forthcoming virtual festival during the first two weeks of March and a feature on The Democracy ! Suite by Wynton Marsalis from our joined up journalists team on 12th April.