Baker, David (Nathaniel)
Baker, David (Nathaniel)
Baker, David (Nathaniel), black American jazz instrumentalist, teacher, and composer; b. Indianapolis, Dec. 21, 1931. He was educated at Ind. Univ. (B.M.Ed., 1953; M.M.Ed., 1954), and also studied theory privately with Heiden, Schuller, Orrego-Salas, William Russo, and George Russell. He subsequently taught music in small colleges and public schools. In 1966 he became chairman of the dept. of jazz studies at Ind. Univ. As a jazz performer, he played the trombone with Stan Kenton, Lionel Hampton, and Quincy Jones. His own compositions fuse jazz improvisation with ultramodern devices, including serial procedures. In 2000 he was honored with the American Jazz Master Award and also received an NEA fellowship. He has written many articles on jazz; among his books are Jazz Improvisation: A Comprehensive Method of Study for All Players (1969) and Techniques of Improvisation (1971); with L. Belt and H. Hudson, he ed. The Black Composer Speaks (1978), and he also ed. New Perspectives on Jazz (Washington, D.C., 1991).
ORCH.: Reflections for Orch. and Jazz Ensemble (1969); Concerto for Violin and Jazz Band (1969; Bloomington, Ind., April 5, 1970); Concerto for Flute, Jazz Ensemble, and String Quartet (1971); Concerto for Double Bass, Jazz Ensemble, String Quartet, and Solo Violin (1972); Concerto for Trombone, Jazz Band, and Chamber Orch. (1972); Kosbro (1973; rev. 1975); Levels, concerto for Double Bass, Jazz Band, Flute Quartet, Horn Quartet, and String Quartet (1973); Le Chat qui pêche for Orch., Jazz Quartet, and Soprano (1974); 2 Improvisations for Orch. and Jazz Combo (1974); Concerto for Tuba, Jazz Band, Percussion, Chorus, Dancers, Slide Projections, and Tape Recorders (1975); Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orch. (1975–76); Concerto for 2 Pianos, Jazz Band, Chamber Orch., and Percussion (1976); Clarinet Concerto (1985); Concert Piece for Trombone and Strings (Bloomington, Ind., Nov. 3, 1991); Images of Childhood (1998; Indianapolis, Feb. 25, 1999). CHAMBER: String Quartet No. 1 (1962); Viola Sonata (1966); Ballade for Horn, Saxophone, and Cello (1967); Violin Sonata (1967); Salute to Beethoven for Piccolo, Wind Quintet, Flute Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and Tape (1970); Sonata for Brass Quintet and Piano (1970); Sonata for Piano and String Quintet (1971); Sonata for Tuba and String Quartet (1971); Sonata for Viola, Guitar, and Double Bass (1973); Cello Sonata (1973); Sonata for Violin and Cello (1974); Suite for Violin (1975); Contrasts for Piano Trio (1976); Ethnic Variations on a Theme of Paganini for Violin and Piano (1976); Roots for Piano Trio (1976); Fantasy for Alto Saxophone, 4 Cellos, and Percussion (1977); Shapes for Percussion Ensemble (1977); Concerto for Fours for Flute, Cello, Tuba, Double Bass, 4 Tubas, 4 Double Basses, and 4 Percussion (1980); Singers of Songs, Weavers of Dreams for Cello and Percussion (1980); Sonata for Violin, Cello, and 4 Flutes (1980); Dedication for Soprano Saxophone, Double Bass, and String Quartet (1981); Blues for Violin Ensemble and Piano (1985); Calypso for Violin Ensemble and Piano (1985); En rouge et noir for Flute, Piano, Double Bass, and Drums (1985); Suite for Horn, Trumpet, Saxophone, and Rhythm Section (1985); Quintet for Jazz Violin and String Quartet (1987; Washington, D.C., March 13, 1988); Duo for Clarinet and Cello (Indianapolis, Oct. 25, 1988); Impressions for 2 Cellos (Bloomington, Ind., Sept. 8, 1989); piano pieces; numerous other works for jazz ensembles of various instruments. VOCAL: Lutheran Mass for Chorus and Jazz Septet (1967); The Beatitudes for Chorus, Soloists, Narrator, Jazz Ensemble, String Orch., and Dancers (1968); Black America:To the Memory of Martin Luther King, jazz cantata (1968); Catholic Mass for Peace for Chorus and Jazz Ensemble (1969); A Song of Mankind for Chorus, Orch., Jazz Ensemble, Rock Band, Lights, and Sound Effects (1970); Songs of the Night for Soprano, String Quartet, and Piano (1972); Give and Take for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1975).
—Lewis Porter/Nicolas Slonimsky