by David Baker -
'Baker's slow movements are all gorgeous ...'
I found 'David Baker at Bay Chamber Concerts' an oddly uninformative CD title in that all its elements are simple enough but none had any particular associations. The performers are listed as 'James Campbell and Ensemble', which didn't help much either, and the cover is a pretty but rather generic 'boats on the water at sunset' image. All this is rather a pity, because the disc turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Taking one element at a time, then: the cover booklet tells us that David Baker is a nationally respected jazz educator based at Indiana University and a prolific composer with over 2000 works to his credit, ranging from jazz to classical works to film scores. Bay Chamber Concerts presents an annual summer music festival and concert series in Rockport on the coast of Maine -- and yes, the cover depicts Rockport harbour. Finally, James Campbell is a clarinetist who is one of Baker's colleagues at Indiana University School of Music and his 'Ensemble' consists of fourteen musicians who are mostly staff or graduates of the same institution.
The music proves to be four pieces for assorted small ensembles, written by Baker between 1989 and 1998 with friends and colleagues, particularly Campbell, in mind. Bay Chamber Concerts presented the world première of one of the works and the American premières of the others.
Copyright © 24 August 2005
Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia