The late David Baker was master musician, loved country music


Here’s an interview WFIU broadcaster David Brent Johnson conducted with the late NEA jazz master and Indiana Avenue musician David Baker, in which he reveals that country music was his first love.

DBJ: What led you on to the path of becoming a jazz artist?

DB: “Probably being exposed to so much music, hearing everything from the Mills Brothers to The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet. My thoughts weren’t about being a musician at that time, but just enjoying music; on Saturday night I would hear Minnie Pearl on Grand Ole Opry and at the same time I was listening to the music from a Tennessee radio show called Randy’s Record Shop.
So I was hearing jazz, but my real love was country music. I knew all the country tunes. But I had a cousin who gave me a Dizzy Gillespie record and told me to listen to it. I said I would, but I didn’t pay any attention to it.

And a few days later he came back and asked, “How did you like that record?” I said, “Oh, it was great!” and he said “Then you don’t need these anymore” and he picked up all my country-western records and broke them. I now have one record! I didn’t get mad at him, because he was bigger than me and it was pointless to get mad, but it opened another door and I started listening. It was a hell of a baptism. But what a revelation.

Then there’s the very practical reason that, given the circumstances of that time, the only things that were open were those things that were designated for blacks. That is, gospel music, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, big jazz bands, if you will.”

Complete interview:…

For more about David Baker, see Monika Herzig’s book:

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