NEWS: Basically Baker crowdfunder launched to support recording and scholarships in memory of David Baker

A special project to celebrate the life and music of the great jazz composer, author and educator DAVID BAKER is announced, and a crowdfunder has just been launched to support it (link below). Friends of David, with the support of his widow, are putting together a recording entitled “Basically Baker Volume 2: The Big Band Music of David Baker.”

It will feature the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra (full personnel below.) All proceeds generated by sales of the recording will go directly to the David N. Baker Scholarship Fund to provide a financial means for prospective students to attend the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Studies Program in Bloomington Indiana.

Sebastian interviewed WAYNE WALLACE, Professor of Practice in Jazz at the Jacobs School, and a close colleague of Baker’s for three decades: 

LondonJazz News: For people not aware of David Baker what would you say was his outstanding contribution to music?

Wayne Wallace: In my opinion besides his talents as an educator, Dr. Baker was the primary force in codifying jazz education on the university level world wide. His presence is an undeniable force in the world of jazz and classical music.

LJN: What were his big achievements?

a. In 1968 Dr. Baker founded the Indiana University jazz studies program in Bloomington Indiana.

b. He was a noted composer who wrote hundreds of pieces, including jazz works and jazz-inflected concert music, for instrumentalists and ensembles including the violinists Josef Gingold, and Ruggiero Ricci, the cellist Janos Starker, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Audubon String Quartet, the New York Philharmonic and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

c. As a performer (trombone and cello) he performed with the Quincy Jones Big band and the George Russell Sextet. He and Gunther Schuller were the original artistic directors of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, established in 1990.

d. Dr. Baker was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000 and a Living Jazz Legend by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2007.

e. Dr. Baker’s jazz studies program at Indiana University encompasses the history, composition and performance of the genre. He was the program’s chairman from 1968 to 2013.

f. Dr. Baker was the author of many books, including “Jazz Styles & Analysis – Trombone: A History of the Jazz Trombone via Recorded Solos” (1973) and “David Baker’s Jazz Pedagogy” (1989).

LJN: What was he like as a person?

WW: He was an intelligent giving person to all he met. Quick to a pun but demanding in that he expected the best of himself and whoever he taught or worked with.

LJN: What does your project aim to do?

WW: Dr. Baker’s classical music is well documented by a variety of artists. His work as a composer/arranger for large jazz ensemble isn’t as well known. Our aim is to expose his that work to a larger audience and honor that legacy.

LJN: Who is involved in it, and what do they bring?

WW: As of right now the line up will consist of a who’s who of internationally known Indiana University graduates and current faculty.


Conductor – Brent Wallarab
Saxophones: Tom Walsh – alto, Bill Sears – alto, Rich Perry – tenor, Rob Dixon – tenor, Ned Boyd – bari
Trumpets: Tony Kadleck – lead, Scott Belck, Jeff Conrad, Mark Buselli, Pat Harbison, Graham Breedlove Trombones: Tim Coffman, Freddie Mendoza, Wayne Wallace, Rich Dole – bass,
Dan Perantoni – tuba
Celeste Holler – french horn
Luke Gilespie – piano
Jeremy Allen – bass
Steve Houghton – drums

LJN: When will it be ready?

WW: The official release date on Patois Records is September 23, 2016.  The CD will be available on iTunes and Amazon 

LINK : Indiegogo page for the Basically Baker campaign (at time of writing it is about 10% funded)

Categories: miscellaneous

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