Duck Baker

Duck’s Contributions


November 2007    Books

Ragged But Right
Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff

In their previous book, Out of Sight, Abbott and Seroff presented an overview of African-American musical development from 1889 to 1895 that was based on decades of research, primarily in the black newspapers and journals of the day. Their new book applies...


December 2006    Albums

The Naughty Waltz: Complete Tenor Sax Septets, 1937-1942
Stuff Smith

AB Fable is a label dedicated to the arcane world of jazz violin, which has for some years been producing rare and previously unavailable recordings, mostly of swing-era masters. One might say that Stuff Smith was the star attraction of the label. Only a...


January/February 2006    Albums

The Complete Library of Congress Recordings
Jelly Roll Morton

The recordings that Jelly Roll Morton made for the Library of Congress in 1938 have long been recognized as a unique documentation of the life, times, opinions, pretensions and music of the first great jazz composer. It seems amazing that this release marks...


January/February 2006    Books

In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz
Donald Marquis

This is a new edition of a book that set a sort of standard for early jazz research when it first appeared in 1978. Before then, far too much New Orleans jazz history was a matter of restating the conclusions of earlier writers and spinning out a few colorful...


January/February 2006    Books

Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop
Frank Driggs and Chuck Haddix

Despite the fact that Kansas City has long been recognized as one of the most important centers for jazz, this is the first in-depth history of the subject. Driggs and Haddix have worked on this project individually and collectively for decades, and their...


January/February 2006    Books

Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band
Lawrence Gushee

Pioneers of Jazz traces the brief but highly significant career of the Creole Band, famous for having turned down the chance to be the first jazz band to make records. Testimony from such luminaries as Jelly Roll Morton has left lovers of early jazz in a...


January/February 2006    DVDs

Willie the Lion
Willie Smith

The career of Willie "The Lion" Smith has been well documented. Never shy about stating his opinions, Smith made several records on which his spoken recollections figure as prominently as his piano tickling, and he wrote a very readable autobiography. But...


January/February 2006    DVDs

Smithsonian Jazz Masters DVD Series

This budget-line series is drawn from a series of concerts held at the Smithsonian Institute in 1981-82. The artists chosen represent the music's history admirably, from the classic blues of Alberta Hunter through New Orleans and swing styles to various...


November 2005    Albums

Quiet Now
Gene Bertoncini

When this magazine polled its writers for a feature on underrated guitarists a couple of years ago, many of us forgot about Gene Bertoncini, probably because we were focused on great ensemble players, not soloists (this writer pleads guilty). Bertoncini...


08/09/05    Concerts

Siena Jazz Festival 2005

Every summer, shortly before the city of Siena prepares to host the mega-event known as the Palio (essentially a horse race with a superabundance of local custom and pageantry attached to it), it stages a two-week jazz festival. This is focused around intensive...

May 2005    Albums

The Complete Argo/Mercury Art Farmer/Benny Golson/Jazztet Sessions
Art Farmer and Benny Golson

The Jazztet was one of the better bands going in the early '60s, and the six LPs it made for Argo and Mercury sound better with each passing year. The featured members were tenor saxophonist Benny Golson and trumpeter/flugelhornist Art Farmer, and though...


March 2005    Albums

The Complete Prestige Recordings
Dexter Gordon

Like most artists, Dexter Gordon broke out of the gate full of youthful fire, hit full stride in his 30s and 40s, and slowly decelerated thereafter. The accepted wisdom is that his greatest dates were made for Blue Note during the '60s, and certainly he...


December 2004    Albums

The Great Concert of Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus

In April of 1964 multi-instrumentalist supreme Eric Dolphy rejoined Charles Mingus for a European tour, his plan being to stay on and look for a new base of operations. Since it proved impossible for Dolphy to find supporting musicians of the caliber he...


December 2004    Albums

Organic Resonance
Wadada Leo Smith/Anthony Braxton

Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and reedist Anthony Braxton haven't made an album together since the late '70s, so these duo recordings (their first), made in 2003 at Tonic in New York City, are indeed an event. Each musician has contributed two compositions...


November 2004    Albums

Monk 'Round the World
Thelonious Monk

This is the second CD-and-DVD set to be released is this nicely priced series, and it's just as exciting as its predecessor. The CD consists of seven performances from five different concerts recorded between 1961 and 1964. Saxophonist Charlie Rouse was...


November 2004    Albums

Breeding Resistance
Ted Sirota Rebel Souls

As one might suppose from the band name and record title, Sirota and his cohorts believe that artists should keep their audience's attention on the outrageous nature of contemporary politics, and that such a stance can make a difference. It is easy to remember...

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