restricted access Preface

From: David Baker

Indiana University Press colophon
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xv 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 a master’s degree at the University of Alabama in May 1991, we decided to keep learning as much as possible about the music that had captured our attention and led us to move to the country where jazz was born. The decision to apply for doctoral studies in music at Indiana University was guided by David Baker’s reputation as a musician and jazz educator. Growing up in the small town of Albstadt, in southern Germany, we used David Baker’s publications as learning tools; in the early 1980s, we even had the opportunity to participate in a series of Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops that were held just thirty minutes away from our hometown . The ABCs of jazz education – Jamey Aebersold, David Baker, and Jerry Coker – brought along a host of stellar artists for a week of jazz education and concerts. During my first weeks at Indiana University, it became clear to me that many of my fellow students had similar experiencesanddecidedtocometoBloomingtontostudywiththemanwhose work and pedagogy had touched them in their remote locations around the world. Furthermore, we also realized that the same level of energy, quality, and enthusiasm that David Baker shared with us in ensemble, improvisation, arranging, composition, pedagogy, and history classes was expected from us in return. Every class was extremely demanding, and quite often students ended up taking classes multiple times before completingallcoursework;someevenchangedcareerpaths.Iremember Preface xvi Preface many hours of desperately trying to live up to such high expectations, but also the gratifying feeling of mastering skills and materials that once seemedbeyondreach.ThejazzstudentsatIndianaUniversityformaculturally diverse, highly motivated, and accomplished community – one which not only excels thanks to the quality of instruction they receive as well as inspiration from their teachers and peers, but which continues to share their skills and pedagogical insights around the globe. When I travel around the world as a performer, I am constantly remindedofDavidBaker ’slegacyasImeetformerstudents,studentsofhis students,studentsofhisbooks,admirersofhismusicandwork,andeven second- and third-generation students whose parents and grandparents have been influenced and inspired by Baker’s work. During recording sessions for Imagine: Indiana in Music and Words, as David Baker read a tribute poem to the Hampton family, I mentioned my observations to Norbert Krapf, former Indiana poet laureate, and he inquired whether anyone was documenting Baker’s work. I replied that I assumed surely such a work was in progress. Later I mentioned Norbert’s inquiry to David and he replied that this is a common assumption, but no one had actually taken on the task of writing such a book. As a jazz performer and composer, his former student, and now his colleague at Indiana University – and with my husband Peter as his music copyist – I saw an opportunity to pay tribute to one of the most influential figures in the jazz community and to express my gratitude for the gracious mentorship that shaped my career. It also became very clear that such a project neededcollaboratorsandexpertsindifferentareas,owingtothebreadth and depth of David’s work. This is not a biography but an analysis of and testament to the work of one of our most prolific composers – a stellar musician, pioneering educator, effective activist, and selfless person. The first chapter chronicles the special circumstances of the Indiana Avenue district of Indianapolis, which produced a host of legendary jazz musicians. Lissa May is a music educator who herself grew up in Indianapolis and who has done extensive research on Crispus Attucks High School, where David Baker and his peers got their early schooling. She is also a colleague at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Chapter 2 is an account of Baker’s early career as a trombonist and member of the George Russell Sextet. His virtuosity is showcased in “Sandu” Preface xvii performed with his group at the Topper in Indianapolis in 1959, which is released for the first time on the accompanying CD. The chapter also includes an analysis of one of his best-known jazz compositions, “Kentucky Oysters,” and a transcription of his trombone solo as recorded on George Russell’s Riverside release Stratusphunk, also included in this book’s accompanying CD. The turning point in Baker’s career is covered inchapter3.Atragicaccidenttriggerstheendofhistrombonecareer,but Baker takes the opportunity to focus on composition and development...


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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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