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IU Jacobs School of Music faculty and alumni featured on 'Basically Baker' CD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A CD of original compositions by David Baker, an Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Jazz, was listed among the best jazz albums of the past decade by Down Beat magazine, the leading jazz periodical.

The CD of jazz big band music, titled Basically Baker, features the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra (BWJO), co-founded in 1994 by now-faculty member of the Jacobs School of Music Brent Wallarab and Jacobs School alumnus Mark Buselli, who is currently director of jazz studies at Ball State University. It was recorded and mixed by Mark Hood, adjunct faculty member in the Department of Recording Arts.

Wallarab, Brent
Brent Wallarab
Print-Quality Photo

"We chose to do a CD release of some of David's big band music because in addition to its being very challenging and inspiring to perform, it is rarely heard outside of Bloomington," said Wallarab, who is also producer and conductor on the album. "Much of his music has been recorded, and it is constantly being performed globally, but that music is almost exclusively orchestral or chamber music. We wanted to get the message out that David's big band music is very special and deserves attention.

"The selection of pieces represents David's big band writing across several decades, from the 1950s into the 21st century," Wallarab said. "He selected a number of the pieces himself, while others were my own picks based on some of my personal favorites."

The 16-piece professional BWJO is comprised primarily of Jacobs School alumni and has produced six recordings, including Basically Baker, which was released in 2007. The band performs regularly in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana in concert and for numerous educational programs.

Jacobs faculty members Thomas Walsh, associate professor of saxophone and chair of the Department of Woodwinds, and Pat Harbison, professor of trumpet, were added to the project because of their longtime association with Baker. Jacobs faculty pianist Luke Gillespie, an original member of the BWJO, is featured as soloist.

"David has a unique compositional voice which, while always very creative and forward thinking, is very recognizable and distinct," said Wallarab. "It was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects the BWJO has undertaken."

The Down Beat magazine accolade can be found in the magazine's January 2010 issue.

Wallarab and Baker will lead two student big bands at IU's Big Band Extravaganza this Saturday, April 24, at 8 p.m. in the Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $10-25 for adults and $8 for students and are available at the MAC Box Office (812-855-7433), online at www.music.indiana.edu/events or through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.