Duluth Central High School 1975 Concert LP with Clark Terry

I picked up a box of LPs at a local estate sale a couple years ago. I was just going through them more closely and thought I would share this one. It’s a concert recording of the Central High School Jazz Ensemble with jazz great Clark Terry, recorded at Central High Auditorium on March 13, 1975.

Inside the record sleeve was a concert program. I noted that Michael Baker, who receives several solos on the record, was one of the young percussionists on the album. Mike became a successful session drummer and was musical director for Whitney Houston for a time.

Clark Terry played with Thelonious Monk, among others.  I suspect this was a big deal for the students: playing with Clark Terry and getting a live album cut and pressed.  Cool to know at least one of these young musicians went on to pursue a career in music.

Any thoughts or recollections of this show, Central High Jazz Ensemble, or Mike Baker?


David Beard

about 1 year ago

Wow -- what a find, what a back story. :)


about 1 year ago

Nice find. I was at Central but I don't remember this show unfortunately. Mike Baker was a great drummer. His family lived near mine for minute on the hillside, I can remember hearing Michael practicing. At Washington Jr, Mike was in the auditorium practicing for a school variety show one time, our English teacher took us out of class and brought us into the auditorium. One by one classes emptied out to go watch Mike Baker play drums. Mike was in M A Free Press, an early local band, he drummed with Guy Lombardo for a while too before becoming Whitney Houston's musical director. The Central bands pressed a number of albums through the years, some were recorded during the Pop Concerts at the Auditorium.

David Toshio Williams

about 1 year ago

A few of us from those bands still are kicking around Duluth. Steve Greenfield was in the communications/press-office sort of space for many years and I’d see him around. Konnie LeMay is the editor at Lake Superior Magazine. Kim Zeleznikar was the main person you would see at City Building Inspection for many years, some more I will not mention ... a few others are on the DCHS Class of 77 Facebook group.

Mike Baker’s younger brother Keith is very involved in the Rondo neighborhood revitalization in Minneapolis.

Clark was really great to work with and play with and that stage band was tight!


about 1 year ago

That Clark Terry concert made many great memories, and it's hard to believe it's been 48 years. We received sheet music several weeks before the concert so we would be well rehearsed before Mr. Terry arrived. I was a marginal rhythm guitar player and practiced a lot because some of the songs were so fast it was hard switching back and forth between chords. 

He arrived to rehearse either the morning of or day before the concert. He was very charming and, of course, a great trumpet player. I was looking forward to rehearsal because I had all the chord changes down. Then Mr. Terry decided to change the key of one of the fastest songs. There was no way I could make all the now-new chord changes fast enough, so I turned my amplifier all the way down and silently strummed the chords as I had rehearsed them. 

I did the same thing during the concert for that one tune. Better to have no guitar on a track than to have one a few beats behind to ruin the entire production.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 months ago

Update: Percussionist Michael Baker died July 9 at the age of 65.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Read previous post:
Exploring Clark House Creek Tunnel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsn96Kmca1E Duluth Urbex explores the underground creek beneath Cascade Park.