A fine jazz pianist and uniquely talented composer Bruce Baker has been making a stir in recent times. “I want to compose jazz riffs and vocal charts that people can sing and remember” says Bruce.
"What I love about Bruce's music is that it's hip as hell but completely accessible. So much melody and feel. He composes and performs these fresh, infectious gems that make your toes tap and your soul smile." Love and Faith LAF! - - Writer, director, and songwriter Steve Mackall
"......excellent modern mainstream jazz that is well worth checking out". -American jazz reviewer, historian and author - Scott Yanow
Born, raised and resides in Los Angeles, Bruce grew up listening to jazz in the 60’s and 70’s while hanging out with his father (drummer Irwin Baker) which significantly influenced Bruce’s current composing styles. “There was no lack of ‘west and east coast jazz’ in our house” says Bruce, “and it’s had a significant effect on my writing.”
Three years ago, Bruce formed his current group; The Bruce Baker Trio - the foundation of the Altered Presence Jazz Band; Bruce's guest performers are often changing, an Altered Presence to suite the needs of the compositions, the venue and the event.
The trio exclusively performs his compositions, featuring bassist Michael Alvidrez and drummer Alex Smith (the grandson of Paul T. Smith). “It is important in our group for us to think along similar lines and to always pay close attention to the intent of the song. This trio has hip balance performing as a team rather than three individuals waiting for their chance to solo. Michael and Alex are very intuitive players adding a great deal to the quality of the songs, helping bring out unexpected beauty in the music.”
When asked about his inspirations as a jazz composer of instrumentals, Bruce mentions Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Paul T. Smith and Monk. For music inspiration when teaming with lyricists to compose vocal songs, he names Michael Franks, Kenny Rankin and Van Morrison . In reality, Bruce Baker’s songs and his playing sound unlike anyone but himself for he has developed his own fresh musical voice.
Bruce Baker learned jazz piano at an early age yet took a detour in his life earning an engineering degree from San Diego State University and had a successful career, however his desire to compose and perform music was never diminished. “Music was always my first passion and composing my ultimate goal in life." Now retired from engineering, Bruce has become quite active. Inspired by Sammy Nestico (famed big band arranger and composer), Bruce has composed music not only for his own group but for stage shows, other combos, big bands and concert bands in the Los Angeles area. He has also done extensive work as an arranger and a copyist.
Check out his excellent trio CD Mandarin Blue, and his recently released live album Live At Alvas Showroom featuring the Altered Presence Jazz Band. Bruce performs regularly at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro and has a monthly standing gig at Hal’s Bar And Grill” in Playa Vista.
In addition to continuing his work with The Altered Presence Jazz Band, Bruce Baker’s future goal is to write a musical. His knack for writing singable songs means that there is a good chance that he will be composing future standards that will be hummed by many listeners for years to come.
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Contact Bruce Baker using the contact page on his website www.brucebakermusic.com.