About the Authors

    Dr. David Baker

    Bob Blumenthal

    Phil Coady

    Dr. JB Dyas

    Marcia Foster Dunscomb

    Dr. Willie Hill

    Howard Mandel

    Dr. Gary B. Nash

    Dr. Richard Olivas

    David Vigilante

Dr. David Baker


Dr. David Baker

David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. (1931 - 2016) was a world renowned musician, composer, and conductor who served as Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music from 1966 to 2016. A virtuosic performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Dr. Baker taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, and Japan. He also served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra from 1990 - 2012.

Baker was among the first to codify the largely aural tradition of jazz, writing 70 books on jazz improvisation, jazz composition and arranging, jazz pedagogy, how to learn tunes, how to practice, and other related topics. He also has more than 400 articles and 75 recordings to his credit. Best known for his work as a jazz pedagogue, Baker’s impressive list of alumni include such distinguished artists and educators as Jamey Aebersold, Jim Beard, Chris Botti, Ralph Bowen, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, John Clayton, Todd Coolman, JB Dyas, Peter Erksine, Jeff Hamilton, John Hasse, Monika Herzig, Bob Hurst, Shannon LeClaire, Alan Pasqua, Shawn Pelton, and Tom Walsh.

Dr. Baker received both bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University, and honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Wabash College, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He studied with a wide range of master teachers, performers, and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, George Russell, William Russo, Bernard Heiden, and Gunther Schuller. A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Dr. Baker also was nominated for a Grammy Award, honored three times by DownBeat magazine (as a trombonist, for lifetime achievement, and induction into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame), and was a recipient of the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, Indiana University President's Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award, and the Governor's Arts Award of the State of Indiana. He was also a recipient of jazz's hightest honor: the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

As a composer, Dr. Baker was commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggerio Ricci, Janos Starker, Harvey Phillips, the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beaux Arts Trio, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Louisville Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Audubon String Quartet, and the International Horn Society. His compositions, tallying over 2,000 in number, range from jazz to classical music to film scores.

Dr. Baker's involvement in music organizations encompassed membership on the National Council on the Arts; board positions for the American Symphony Orchestra League, Arts Midwest, and the Afro-American Bicentennial Hall of Fame/Museum; and chairs of the Jazz Advisory Panel to the Kennedy Center and the Jazz/Folk/Ethnic Panel of the NEA. He also served as President of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and the National Jazz Service Organization (NJSO); and was a senior consultant for music programs for the Smithsonian Institution.

The David Baker biography, "David Baker – A Legacy in Music" (Monika Herzig, JB Dyas, John Hasse, et al.) was published by Indiana University Press in 2011.

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