Artist Info

David Baker

David Baker earned plaudits as a player, writer, and teacher, and on two instruments. While working toward his doctorate at Indiana University in the early and mid-'50s, Baker played in several big bands, including Lionel Hampton's. He also worked in the West Coast orchestras of Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson in 1956 and 1957, headed his own band back in Indianapolis in 1958-1959, then joined George Russell's experimental combos for three years (appearing on such landmark Russell albums as 1960's Stratusphunk, 1961's Ezz-Thetics, and 1962's The Stratus Seekers), while also spending some time in Quincy Jones' orchestra. At one time Baker was considered a coming star on trombone, but an injury he'd sustained in 1953 ultimately caused him to switch in 1962 to cello, which he played on the Charles Tyler recording Eastern Man Alone in 1967. Baker picked the trombone back up in the '70s, playing on the 1972 album Living Time with Bill Evans and George Russell conducting. Still, though he's contributed some strong trombone and cello solos, Baker was best known as an influential composer and writer of many textbooks and analysis of jazz works. His piece "Levels," a concerto for solo bass, jazz band, woodwinds, and strings, garnered a 1973 Pulitzer Prize nomination. He headed the jazz department in Indiana University's music department and served on many national panels and commissions on jazz. At one time Baker was president of the National Jazz Service Organization. He died in March 2016 at the age of 84.
Ron Wynn, Rovi

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  1. 1987Struttin'