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Indiana University

Biography of IU Jazz Great David Baker Wins Top Award

October 4, 2012
Bloomington, Indiana --

Book coverA biography of legendary jazz musician and composer David Baker has earned a prestigious honor from the American Association of University Presses (AAUP).

David Baker, A Legacy in Music (Indiana University Press, 2011), was named an AAUP “Selection” for public and secondary school libraries and also received an “Outstanding” designation reserved for books considered exceptional by the reviewer.

Author Monika Herzig studied under Baker at Indiana University and now is both a touring jazz pianist and a member of the faculty at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.

Gay Ann Loesch, a Charlotte, NC, librarian reviewed David Baker for AAUP and wrote: "This inspiring biography of a brilliant jazz musician takes us from his Great Depression years and his European band tours as a trombonist, to his composing and teaching career at Indiana University. Baker's passion for music and his knack for teaching dominate the writing.

“Black and white photos, music scores, arrangement techniques and quotes about Baker from other musicians and educators are a few of the unique features of this title. With this biography we come to discover a musician, a composer, a conductor, and an educator not with just text alone, but by listening to his compositions on the CD inside the back cover. So much more can be experienced and learned when you get to listen to Baker's music."

Beyond biographical information, Herzig’s book also includes chapter contributions on Baker’s work and impact by Nathan Davis, J.B. Dyas, John Hasse, Willard Jenkins, Lissa May, Brent Wallarab, and David Ward-Steinmann. Furthermore, an accompanying CD and more than 30 illustrations exemplify his work. David Baker grew up in Indianapolis and rose to fame as a trombonist with the George Russell Sextet. He became a pioneer of the jazz education movement and founded the IU Jazz Department in 1968. Performers as varied as the Czech Philharmonic and Dexter Gordon have recorded his compositions. Now Distinguished Professor of Music, Baker is still the Chairman of the Jazz Department where Herzig was one of his students.

“This award from AAUP is so gratifying because it means more people, especially young people, will experience the artistic genius that is David Baker,” said Herzig.

Herzig is a recording artist for Owl Studios and a frequent presence on the international jazz and festival circuit. She has received awards from DownBeat Magazine, ASCAP, and Billboard. Herzig teaches classes on the music industry and community arts organizations at Indiana University as a member of the Arts Administration faculty.