Baker, David (Nathaniel)
- Timothy M. Crain
(b Indianapolis, IN, Dec 21, 1931; d Bloomington, IN, March 26, 2016). American composer and jazz cellist. He received both the BME (1953) and MME (1954) degrees from Indiana University and studied privately with J.J. Johnson, Bob Brookmeyer, George Russell, Janos Starker, John Lewis, and Gunther Schuller, among others. Unable to play the trombone professionally following a 1953 accident, Baker turned exclusively to the cello and pioneered the use of that instrument in jazz with such artists as Maynard Ferguson, Quincy Jones, George Russell, John Montgomery, and Lionel Hampton. He taught at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, at Indiana Central University, Indianapolis, and in the Indianapolis public schools. In 1966 he joined the faculty of Indiana University, where he served as Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairperson of the Jazz Department. At IU, he established the 21st-Century Bebop Band, a student group dedicated to the preservation of bebop literature. He received honorary doctorates from Wabash College, Oberlin College, and the New England Conservatory of Music. In ...