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David Baker

A Legacy in Music

Monika Herzig. With contributions by Nathan Davis, JB Dyas, John Edward Hasse, Willard Jenkins, Lissa May, Brent Wallarab, and David Ward-Steinman. Foreword by Quincy Jones

Publication Year: 2011

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.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xiii-xiv

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...

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pp. xv-xviii

In August 1991, my soon-to-be-husband Peter Kienle and I arrived in Bloomington, Indiana, with my letter of admission to the doctoral program in Music Education and a mutual determination to pursue our careers as jazz musicians. After I had completed...

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pp. xix-xxi

This book was the collaborative effort of many contributors, teachers, colleagues, and friends of David Baker. I’d like to consider myself a team leader rather than an author, and would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the team...

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1. Indiana Avenue and Crispus Attucks High School

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pp. 1-15

The story of David Baker’s life began in 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At that time, nearly 45,000 African Americans lived in the city of approximately...

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2. A Star Is Born

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pp. 16-45

While jazz singer Janet Lawson was on tour in Latvia in the 1990s, she was given a book to read by a friend. It was A Woman in Amber, a memoir about the destruction...

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3. New Beginnings

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pp. 46-64

With a tragic revelation at the height of Baker’s career as a jazz trombonist and a young generation fighting for peace and civil rights, the 1960s started...

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4. Defining Jazz Education

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pp. 65-120

I have known David Baker for twenty-five years , actually longer if you count the decade or so I knew him through his jazz improvisation books before ever meeting him in person. Back then, in the 1970s, his and...


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pp. 121-138

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5. 21st Century Bebop

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pp. 139-172

As Nathan Davis discussed in chapter 3, the most effective jazz educators are also practitioners with vast experience in the field. Historically, music education methods incorporate modeling as an effective teaching...

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6. The Composer

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pp. 173-229

David N. Baker’s estimated catalog of over two thousand instrumental, vocal, and choral works includes everything from lead-sheet combo jazz arrangements and compositions to big band charts and extended...

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7. David Baker and the Smithsonian: A Personal Perspective

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pp. 230-287

I first met David Baker in fall 1973, when I arrived at Indiana University to pursue a doctorate in ethnomusicology.1 Even though I would earn my degree in the Graduate School rather...

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8. Social Engagement

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pp. 288-302

As is no doubt crystal clear by this point, David Baker is a quintessential modern music renaissance man. An award-winning educator, composer, musician, bandleader, and recording artist, David Baker...

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9. Coda

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pp. 303-325

The coda of a musical piece is a separate movement that creates a memorable ending to a composition while incorporating previous stylistic elements and themes. In fact, Merriam-Webster defines a coda as a concluding...

Appendix A: List of Compositions

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pp. 327-357

Appendix B: Awards and Honors

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pp. 358-360

Appendix C: Service

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pp. 361-364

Appendix D: Performing Experience

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pp. 365-366

Appendix E: Teaching

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pp. 367-369

Appendix F: Professional Societies and Organizations, Past and Present

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pp. 370

Bibliography of Written Works by David Baker

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pp. 371-379


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pp. 381-393

Selected List of Books, Articles, and Other Publications about David Baker

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pp. 395-397

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About the Contributors

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pp. 398-400

Nathan Davis is currently director of the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Studies Program. He is founder of Pitt’s annual jazz seminar and concert, which marked its fortieth anniversary this fall. It is the longest-running jazz event...

CD Track Listing

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pp. 401-402


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pp. 403-420

E-ISBN-13: 9780253005243
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253356574

Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2011

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Subject Headings

  • Baker, David, 1931-.
  • Composers -- United States -- Biography. -- Composers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Jazz musicians -- United States -- Biography. -- Jazz musicians -- United States -- Biography.
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