David Baker was such an outstanding musician, bandleader and composer that it took me a year or two to get up the courage to ask him for a lesson. But what a lesson it was. It was the beginning of my real jazz education.
I recall him accompanying me on piano while I played “I Remember April” in the living room of his house on Burdsal Parkway in Indianapolis. After we played for a few minutes, he stopped me and said I was playing pure minor instead of Dorian minor in bars five, six, seven and eight. He told me to raise the sixth, and I had no idea what he was talking about. He quickly got me straightened out on that wrong note, and it was no looking back. I didn’t even know what questions to ask, but his ears were so good and his demeanor so friendly that I couldn’t help but learn from him. I was amazed he played piano and bass in addition to trombone, his main instrument at the time. And then he took up cello!