A Jazz Teacher for the Ages (via WSJ)

David Baker, who died March 26 at age 84, may not have been a household name, but he did more than anyone to teach students how to play jazz. And he led the way for the acceptance of jazz in American higher education. It wasn’t easy. In the 1950s, music departments were so Eurocentric that at Indiana University, where he was enrolled as a student, he had to keep his interest in jazz under the radar. “If we got caught playing [jazz] in a practice room,” he said, “probably we would lose our practice-room privileges.”

But a decade later, Mr. Baker was back at Indiana, this time to build one of the first jazz programs in an American college or university. As a dynamic classroom teacher at universities and at summer jazz camps for high-school and college students, and as a tireless author—he wrote more than 60 books and hundreds of articles—he attained enormous influence and built a large following.

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