2010 46th Ave #45
Greeley, Colorado 80634

Phone: (970) 339-3135

Buddy Baker
His Dad’s old Army bugle guided Buddy Baker to the trombone. “When I played America on that old Army bugle—I did it by greasing the tuning slide and using it like a slide trumpet—for my music teacher in the sixth grade,” Buddy said, “my teacher decided that I should play the slide trombone.” 

Buddy performs with the Matteson/Phillips Tubajazz Consort at the
"Jazz Showcase" on Rush Street in Chicago (Dec. 1977).
Louie Bellson was a guest sitting in on drums.

And play the trombone Buddy Baker did.  Mentored by an outstanding first teacher, Ivan Arnold, from whom he received an excellent start on his instrument and a great enthusiasm for music that continues to this day, Buddy excelled as a trombonist throughout his public school years. Having won first in state solo contests his freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years, he entered Indiana University on scholarship in 1950, studying with Dr. Thomas Beversdorf, one of the nation’s top brass artist teachers. He soon gained the attention of leading professional musicians, and Woody Herman invited Buddy to join his band during Buddy’s junior year at IU. Opting instead to finish his schooling, Buddy received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Performers’ Certificate in trombone from IU in 1954. This was the first "instrumental" performers' certificate awarded by Indiana University.

Buddy rehearses at Great Falls, Montana high
school jazz band during a Jazz Workshop
there in December 1974.

The next fall, Buddy entered the Army as a second lieutenant—through ROTC, completed flight school in 1955, and flew reconnaissance missions in 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 subsequently were 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 trombone and starting a jazz studies program at Indiana University, a project he undertook with great zeal and success. Touring with Stan Kenton in the summer and fall of 1963, and also with Woody Herman, he continued his work at IU until 1965, when family health issues prompted 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. Many of his successful students have found employment as performers in orchestras, military bands and wind ensembles nationwide, and even more of them are engaged in careers as university professors and administrators.

Buddy performs on the euphonium with the
Tubajazz Consort at the 1987
World International Brass Conference.

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 Philips 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 and toured Australia twice – once as a trombone soloist/clinician after appearing at the first Australian Trombone Conference (Buddy was the only American soloist invited) and the second time with TUBAJAZZ Consort. He has also performed in Japan with the TUBAJAZZ Consort.  From 1988 to 1998, Buddy performed and taught each summer at Skidmore College Jazz Institute in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Buddy making a presentation at the May 1978
International Trombone workshop in Nashville, Tennessee.

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, Buddy was honored with a number of prestigious awards, including the M. Lucille Harrison Professor of the Year Award at UNC.  He received the ITA Annual Artist/Teacher Award in 1976 and the ITA Neill 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 a CD, Exit Sliding, in 1999.