by: Baheejah Crumbley
A performer, composer and educator
Born in Indianapolis on Dec. 21, 1931 and passed away in March 2016
Founded Indiana University’s jazz studies program in 1968
Played in the ensembles of Quincy Jones and George Russell
David Baker along with Gunther Schuller were the original artistic directors of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, established in 1990
Wrote many jazz pieces for notable instrumentalists and ensembles including the cellist Janos Starker and the Fisk Jubilee Singers
Named Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000
Named a Living Jazz Legend by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2007
During his time in school, you could be expelled for practicing jazz in the practice rooms.
Was in a bad car accident in 1953 resulting in the end of his time as a trombonist due to a chronic facial tremor caused by the injury.
Was fired from Lincoln University in 1957 after he married Eugenia Jones, a white opera singer.