Eddie Baker Jr. Day

October 13, 1927 – July 31, 2018

 

A tribute to the Chicago jazz pianist

Pianist Eddie Baker Jr. passed away on July 31, 2018 at the age of 90.

Born on Oct. 13, 1927 in Chicago, Baker played piano as a teenager and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the American Conservatory of Music.

Baker was a 1950s bebop pianist on the level of Wynton Kelly and Red Garland but lesser-known because he chose to spend his life living and working in Chicago.

He recorded with singer Dr. Jo Jo Adams (1952), arranger-trombonist Bill Rosso (1955-56), Ira Sullivan and Sandy Mosse (1956), a single of his own (1957) and, most notably, with Max Roach for On The Chicago Scene with Booker Little and George Coleman.(1958).

Baker, who toured Europe with his trio in the mid-1950s, also worked along the way with Illinois Jacquet, Von Freeman and Miles Davis.

The pianist taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and, starting in the late 1980s, he headed the jazz studies program at Roosevelt University.

Here is Eddie Baker Jr. from the album with the Max Roach Quintet in 1958, taking a solo on “Sporty.”

-Scott Yanow

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