A fine jazz pianist and uniquely talented composer Bruce Baker has been making a stir in recent times. “I want to compose jazz tunes and vocal charts that people can sing and remember” says Bruce.
He says he is driven to learn from the giants of jazz and from the contemporary musicians and use everything he experiences to improve and enhance his own sound.
"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.”
The Bruce Baker Trio is the foundation of the Altered Presence Jazz Band; Bruce's guest performers are often changing - an Altered Presence - to maintain a fresh, interesting and varied approach to his live performances of his original material.
The trio performs contemporary jazz, standards, and Bruce's original compositions. Bruce is always focusing on his sound and technique so that his music is fresh and interesting. Bruce insists on mindfulness practice while pressing forward to the future. He is not settled today nor will he be tomorrow. It is this attitude toward his music that makes his music fresh and current. The attitude of the musicians with which he performs must be one of "mutual focus" says Bruce. “It is important that we think along similar lines and to pay close attention to the intent of the music." His trio has hip balance performing as a team rather than three individuals waiting for their chance to solo.
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." Shortly after retiring from engineering, Bruce became 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 music engraver (copyist).
Check out his excellent trio CD Mandarin Blue, and his second project recorded during the performance - “Live At Alvas Showroom” featuring the Altered Presence Jazz Band. Bruce performed regularly at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro prior to the Covid Pandemic. Only now (2023) is he back to perform. Currently he is performing weekly on Friday and Saturday evenings in a duo (piano/bass) at the Redondo Beach Shade Hotel restaurant.
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.
Sign up to Bruce’s mailing list on the Home page to stay in touch with current shows and other news.
Contact Bruce Baker using the contact page on his website www.brucebakermusic.com.