Photography

Edwin "Buddy" Dee Baker

June 12, 1932 ~ December 10, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Edwin "Buddy" Baker Obituary

Edwin Dee “Buddy” Baker 

Greeley’s widely celebrated educator and master trombonist Edwin Dee “Buddy” Baker passed away from a stroke on December 10th, 2023. 

Buddy Baker was born in Alexandria, Indiana, on June 12th,1932 into a musical family in which everyone sang, and everyone played one or two instruments. Buddy began piano studies at age 7 and trombone at age 12. His first teacher was a neighbor named Ivan Arnold, who was a fine euphonium player. Buddy studied with Ivan through high school.

After graduation from high school as class valedictorian, he entered Indiana University in 1950 on scholarships and began studying with Dr. Thomas Beversdorf, one of the nation’s top brass artist teachers. During his junior year, Buddy was invited to join the Woody Herman band, but he opted to finish his schooling. Buddy received a BM degree and a Performer's Certificate in Trombone from IU in 1954.

The next fall, Buddy entered the Army as a second lieutenant-through ROTC, completed flight school in 1955, and flew reconnaissance missions in West Germany for the next two years. Returning to IU following his service years, Buddy began his master’s degree in trombone performance, marrying his hometown sweetheart, Nancy McCaslin, in August of 1958. Three children were subsequently born to Buddy and Nancy- Dee, Amy and Chris.

Buddy performed with Stan Kenton and his band during the fall of 1958, completed his master's degree in the fall of 1959, and subsequently was offered a faculty position at his alma mater. A classical artist with a strong interest in jazz from an early age, Buddy was charged with teaching low brass and starting a jazz studies program at Indiana University, a project he undertook with great zeal.

Touring with Stan Kenton in the summer and fall of 1963, and also with Woody Herman, Buddy continued his work at IU until 1965, when his wife Nancy’s health issues necessitated a move to Colorado. He subsequently accepted a teaching position at the University of Northern Colorado in 1965, also starting the UNC Jazz Studies Program in the fall of 1965. Buddy taught at UNC for 33 years, retiring in 1998.

In addition to his career as a celebrated musician and teacher, Buddy was an avid golfer, a hunter who supported conservation, and a lifelong fishing enthusiast. He shared with his family his valuing of nature, music and intellectual curiosity as well as an appreciation of science fiction and showmanship. 

Buddy’s approach to teaching music centered on fundamentals and disciplined preparation that allowed artistry to flow- a teaching method that produced many trombone masters from UNC. 

In the trombone performance arena, Buddy served as principal trombonist with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra for 33 years and was a member of the Rich Matteson/Harvey Phillips TUBAJAZZ Consort, in which he played euphonium. He has performed widely as a guest soloist with numerous American and Canadian High school and college jazz ensembles, wind ensembles, orchestras and trombone choirs. He toured Australia twice-once as a trombone soloist/clinician after appearing at the first Australian Trombone Conference and the second time with the TUBAJAZZ Consort. From 1988 to 1998, Buddy performed and taught each summer at the Skidmore College Jazz Institute in Saratoga Springs, New York.

He served as President of the International Trombone Association from 1976 to 1978, and has been involved with that organization since its inception. During his years of teaching (40 years), Buddy was honored with a number of prestigious awards, including the M. Lucille Harrison Professor of the Year Award at UNC. He received the International Trombone Association's Annual Artist/TeacherAward in 1976 and the ITA Neil Humfeld Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004.

Publications by Buddy Baker include Master Solos-Intermediate Level (for Trombone and Piano), The Buddy Baker Tenor Trombone Method, Songs for the Young Trombonist (with David Hanson), and The Buddy Baker Tenor Trombone Handbook. A master clinician and author of numerous articles, he also produced the CDs, Exit Sliding, in 1999, Buddy is Back and The Baker Bunch.

Buddy is survived by his sisters, Anne Nelson and Susan Dudley, as well as by his second wife, Shirley Howell and his children, Dr. Chris Baker, Amy Brierly and Dee Baker. 

*** Please do not send flowers, rather, in lieu of flowers please leave a donation to Colorado Trout Unlimited- https://coloradotu.org in Buddy's name and memory ***

 

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