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Duck Baker

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Duck Baker grew up in Richmond, Virginia. As a teenager he played in rock and blues bands before becoming interested in acoustic blues. In the early seventies he moved to San Francisco, and was performing a wide range of material which can be heard on his first record on the Kicking Mule label, “There’s Something for Everyone In America”. In addition to developing his solo style, he immersed himself in the local swing jazz scene.

In the late seventies Duck Baker released four more records for Kicking Mule, including two devoted to jazz and a solo guitar record of Irish and Scottish music. He also began touring as a solo artist throughout North America, Western Europe and Australia. He eventually moved to Europe before returning to San Francisco in 1987.

His associations in the 1990s included the Irish fiddler, Kieran Fahy, and the traditional singer, Molly Andrews. As at 2002 he was involved in several duos: with trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Mark Dresser, and guitarists Jamie Findlay, Woody Mann and Ken Emerson. His solo recordings since 1980 have largely focussed on his own compositions, which reflect the influence of the great jazz pianists/composers.

Ben Ratliff reviewed Baker’s 1996 tribute recording “Spinning Song: Duck Baker Plays the Music of Herbie Nichols” in The New York Times, writing ” digs into all the hidden pockets and beautiful embroidery of Nichols’s music. He plays the delicate pieces gently and fluidly, making the music sound as if it were written for the guitar: he bends strings, slides notes and rings minor flamenco chords.

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  • Mediachaos

    Just had the chance to meet Duck in a acoustic Blues + Jazz fingerstyle weekend workshop. Great experience. I don't know what I liked more, his music or his stories. He knows basically everybody who ever had and has a name in guitar music. The workshop however was a little hard for me, but I learned a lot anyway - after a week my fingers now begin to stop hurting .. Great player, very nice person.

    30 Nov 2007 Reply

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