David Baker: A Legacy in Music

David Baker: A Legacy in Music

David Baker: A Legacy in Music

David Baker: A Legacy in Music

Synopsis

A Living Jazz Legend, musician and composer David Baker has made a distinctive mark on the world of music in his nearly 60-year career--as player (chiefly on trombone and cello), composer, and educator. In this richly illustrated volume, Monika Herzig explores Baker's artistic legacy, from his days as a jazz musician in Indianapolis to his long-term gig as Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Jazz Studies department at Indiana University. Baker's credits are striking: in the 1960s he was a member of George Russell's "out there" sextet and orchestra; by the 1980s he was in the jazz educator's hall of fame. His compositions have been recorded by performers as diverse as Dexter Gordon and Janos Starker, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Composer's String Quartet and the Czech Philharmonic. Featuring enlightening interviews with Baker and a CD of unreleased recordings and Baker compositions, this book brings a jazz legend into clear view.

Excerpt

David and I were both born less than eighteen months apart during America’s Great Depression – David in Indianapolis, and myself less than two hundred miles away on the South Side of Chicago. We both fell in love with music at an early age, and decided to make it our lives. For more than fifty years now I have considered David my brother, and to say that we have a connection is an understatement.

In 1960, I invited him to join my big band for a tour of Europe. We were both still in our twenties, and David could really play. But beside being a trombonist, he could also write. Nadia Boulanger, my foremost music teacher, told me that your music can never be any more or less than you are as a human being and that it takes a special kind of person to write good music. Well, David had it, and his tune “Screamin’ Meemies” was part of our nightly repertoire. the reviews of our tour in the Swiss newspapers noted our impromptu jam sessions during the train rides and never failed to point out our inadequate skiing skills. We have been in close touch ever since and have collaborated on many projects.

As my success grew scoring films, arranging, and producing, I tempted David to come and join me in Hollywood. But his dedication to teaching, and to the program he built at Indiana University, was stronger than the promise of riches and fame. I’m sure there have been many similar temptations over the years – promising more financial rewards, more artistic freedom, more public visibility – but he always chose his teaching and his students as his principal calling. in a society that most commonly rewards glamorous careers with a focus on highly visible . . .

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