He also began focusing on composing, as he discusses in this excerpt from this week's Art Works podcast. [1:31]
Jo Reed: Well, let's talk about you as a composer. You have composed thousands of pieces.
David Baker: Well, one thing is that my curiosity is such that I don't draw lines about anything other than the worth of the music: is it good or is it bad? So there never was for me this chasm that exists sometimes between classical and jazz music. So for me, with the cello now the instrument that I was playing, I started to look and really examine, and I had a chance to study with Gunther Schuller and with John Lewis, as well as with JJ. So all of a sudden, my world exploded into all of these different things, and all of them closely related one to the other, and it's just a question of what you intended to do or what you chose to do with that information. For me, it was to write, to compose, to make music. And for a long time, I was very, very fruitful in what I was writing and stuff. And I hit a dry spot about ten years into that, and I thought, "Boy, I'm running out of ideas already." And then when I realized, I was starting to be more critical of what I was writing, so I was not nearly as fruitful, that I was turning out so many pieces. Now I think it's under control where I recognized that there has to be given great scrutiny if you're going to hope that the music would continue to grow.