Matt Baker to Perform at Scullers Jazz Club, April 14th, 2016

Pianist Matt Baker - Thursday, April 14 at Scullers Jazz Club
Pianist Matt Baker to Perform Ahead of
His Upcoming Release, Almost Blue
Available June 24 on JazzElm Music 

Thursday, April 14 at Scullers Jazz Club 

Matt Baker / piano 
Joel Frahm / tenor saxophone
Jim Cammack / bass
Darrian Douglas / drums 

Thursday, April 14
Performance at 8:00pm 

Scullers Jazz Club 
400 Soldiers Field Rd.
Allston, MA 02134
Phone: 617-562-4111
Pianist Matt Baker's new recording, Almost Blue (via JazzElm Music), is his fifth as a leader, but only his second since 2010 when he moved to New York City from Sydney, Australia. Baker abandoned a comfortable career to position himself in the pool of big fish who leave an international array of smaller ponds to test their mettle in the jazz capital. That it was a wise decision is evident: Now approaching 40-years-old, Baker (well-known in Australia and Europe during the '00s for an approach deeply informed by Oscar Peterson, his idol and first influence in matters of intention, execution and time feel) interacts seamlessly with young New York A-listers Luques Curtis on bass and Obed Calvaire on drums, placing his exhaustive knowledge of chords and scales and stylistic dialects at the service of swinging melody without letting you see him sweat. Master guitarist Lage Lund augments the unit on six selections, while formidable tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm projects his singular instrumental voice on three.

About Matt Baker
Born in 1976 in Sydney, Australia to a father who played jazz trombone (and had a good record collection) and a mother who played piano, Baker started on piano at five and began jazz lessons at 12. At 15, he took a once-a-week gig "at a café close to my school that had a piano," which he retained until his twenties. During his final year at the Sydney Conservatory, he spent several months in New York, where he encountered and took lessons from such piano heroes as James Williams, Benny Green and Jacky Terrasson. "Friends in Sydney were forcefully telling me I had to get to New York," Baker recalls. "I started to realize what I didn't know and what I had to learn, and I felt pressure--in a good way--to up my game and not get comfortable." 

After returning home in 1999, Baker recorded his first album, I Got It Bad, with drummer John Morrison (the brother of the eminent trumpeter James Morrison) and bassist Phil Stack. Baker recorded his second album, Talkin' Soul Food, with Stack and Morrison a week after returning to Sydney from another trip to New York, taken with the express intent of hearing every set by Peterson during a week-long engagement at the Blue Note.

In 2007, Baker spent six months in London and upon his return, with a year's savings as a cushion, spent his first year in New York networking at jam session hubs like Smalls, Fat Cat, Cleopatra's Needle and Smoke, where he "hung out, listened, gave out the business card, and had stacks of people not call me," while also studying with pianist Taylor Eigsti, whom he met on a 2009 New York visit.

"I really wanted to have a solid career beneath me when I did my next album," Baker says, and he's achieved that aspiration. His sideman credits include engagements with 7-string guitar icon Bucky Pizzarelli, tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm, bassist Marco Panascia, and vocalist Tierney Sutton, among others. In 2015, he began serving as musical director for the legendary folk singer Judy Collins, and has fulfilled that role for the Italian pop singer Patrizio Buanne since 2013. In addition to refining his presentation of Oscar Peterson repertoire, which he has presented at Birdland and different venues in North America and abroad, Baker has played numerous trio engagements that feature his own repertoire conception in diverse rooms like Birdland, The Blue Note, Cleopatra's Needle, Gin Fizz, Iridium, Kitano, Bemelmans, Le Cirque and the Zinc Bar.

Matt Baker · Almost Blue
JazzElm Music · Release Date: June 24, 2016

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