Friday, November 18, 2016

Jazz Legacy Showcase puts David Baker's name on its annual award to an outstanding Indiana teacher

Lida Baker accepts award on behalf of Janis Stokhouse from Gene Markiewicz.
In accepting an award newly named for her late husband on behalf of Janis Stockhouse of Bloomington North High School, Lida Baker noted that of all the distinctions David Baker accumulated during his long musical career, being a teacher was uppermost.

"Quincy Jones never stopped calling, trying to get him to come out to Hollywood and work with him.," she told the Jazz Legacy Showcase annual dinner and awards ceremony Thursday evening at Indiana Landmarks Center. "But he liked teaching best of all the things he did." And the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University remained his home base until the end.

David Baker died last March at age 84. The Indianapolis native started IU's jazz studies department and ran it for several decades, becoming one of the most eminent jazz educators in the nation, while continuing to compose music in both jazz and classical genres.

The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and Indy Jazz Fest, now joining forces, decided to put David Baker's name on its 2016 Jazz Educator of the Year Award, which Lida Baker accepted from the IJF's education director, Gene Markiewicz.
Scholarship winners Lamont Webb (from left) Peter Schultz, and Gregory Pryor.

Musical entertainment was provided by Jazz Futures, a student group comprising secondary-school musicians directed by Rob Dixon and Bruce McConnell. The septet played a couple of songs, with Dixon sitting in on alto saxophone.

Also performing at the beginning and end of the event was the Indianapolis Jazz Collective band, consisting in this instance of Dixon, pianist Steve Allee, bassist Nick Tucker, and drummer Kenny Phelps.

Three IJF scholarships were awarded to college musicians nominated by faculty at their respective institutions. The winners, each of whom received $1,000 toward their musical studies, performed with Indianapolis Jazz Collective members for the audience. They are bassist Gregory Pryor, Butler University; alto saxophonist Lamont Webb, Ball State University, and pianist Peter Schultz, Purdue University. They distinguished themselves in, respectively,  Brooks Bowman's "East of the Sun," Wayne Shorter's "Juju," and Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark."

[Photos by Phil Cramer]