Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Basically Baker, Vol. 2 (Patois)
During the decades he spent developing Indiana University’s jazz studies program, David Baker (1931-2016) became one of the most honored educators in his field. His student bands produced top-level players like trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Dave Stryker, guest soloists on this album. Tenor saxophonist Rich Perry of the Maria Schneider Orchestra is another. The true stars, however, are Baker the master arranger and the members of the 22-piece band. Many of these outstanding soloists are IU alumni. In his teaching years, Baker wrote arrangements that made up Vol. 1, recorded in 2005, and this new collection. They constitute a memorial to a great mainstream jazz arranger. Among the highlights: An expansion of his famous blues “Honesty” that incorporates Baroque counterpoint by a brass chorale, a blazing romp through Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop,” and “Kirsten’s First Song,” which could become a classic ballad.