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Last modified: Friday, March 23, 2007

David Baker receives jazz living legend award at Kennedy Center

March 23, 2007

David Baker at the Kennedy Center

Distinguished Professor David N. Baker, left, received the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' "Living Jazz Legend Award" for lifetime achievement on March 3 in Washington, D.C.

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University professor from the Jacobs School of Music recently was recognized as a living legend among jazz artists. Distinguished Professor David N. Baker received the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' "Living Jazz Legend Award" for lifetime achievement on March 3 in Washington, D.C.

Among the 25 honorees were Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Chico Hamilton, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal, Al Jarreau, Hank Jones, Dame Cleo Laine, Michel Legrand, Wynton Marsalis, Marian McPartland, James Moody, Jimmy Scott, Billy Taylor, Clark Terry and Phil Woods.

"You see some of the fruits of your labor on a night like that," Baker commented upon his return to Bloomington. "It was a staggering sight to see all those people on stage together, representing what must be 100 years of the world of jazz. Winton Marsalis was probably one of the youngest there! I feel blessed to have been with them all."

A "spectacular salute to a generation of extraordinary artists who have helped make jazz 'America's greatest music'" is how the organizers of this year's "Jazz in Our Time" celebrations thought of it. IU was well represented in the special concert that evening, hosted by James Earl Jones to honor these Living Jazz Legends. Alumni John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton led musical selections by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. Other performers included vocalist Nancy Wilson, drummer T.S. Monk, and violinist Regina Carter. The concert was part of the eight-day Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Series for Artistic Excellence Jazz in Our Time Celebration

The honor is one of many accolades Baker has received in his extraordinary career. During the past year, he received the International Association for Jazz Education Lawrence Berk Leadership Award in recognition of meritorious efforts to organizationally strengthen and further the mission of the International Association for Jazz Education. He also received the Indiana University Sonneborn Award that recognizes an IU faculty member who has achieved international recognition for work as a performer, composer, scholar, and educator.

Baker's past awards also include the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award (1981), President's Award for Distinguished Teaching from Indiana University (1986), the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award (1990), the Governor's Arts Award of the State of Indiana (1991), the American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (2000), the Indiana Historical Society's Living Legend Award (2001), the James Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution (2002), an Emmy Award (2003) for his musical score for the PBS documentary "For Gold and Glory," the Sonneborn Award (2006), and the Lawrence Berk Award (2007). He has received honorary doctorates from Wabash College, Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music.

David Baker's upcoming concerts
Monday, March 26, 8 p.m.
JAZZ ENSEMBLE at the Musical Arts Center—David N. Baker, Director
Saturday, April 21, 8 p.m.
BIG BAND EXTRAVAGANZA at the Musical Arts Center—David N. Baker and Pat Harbison, Directors

More on David Baker

Video stream: To view a video of a recent work by Baker commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and produced by WFYI-TV, go to the video stream at:

Biographical information: Please visit: