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Baker, David (Nathaniel)

jazz improvisation composer black

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).

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