Forward by Bill Milkowski
And so it is with Bryan Baker, who represents a similar cutting edge of thought and brings a sense of unbridled conviction to his music, as Ornette did 50 years ago. I was first hipped to the young maestro five or so years ago. At the time, slide guitarist extraordinaire David Tronzo, an instructor at the Berklee College of Music, told about this dazzling young student of his, a modern day Mozart who could read through and improvise over the most challenging string quartet charts. “Just regarding the mechanics of music, I have never met a faster mind,” says Tronzo in retrospect. “It was like babysitting a Siberian tiger. You just hope that you don’t one day become the food.”
Baker would later hook up with Mike Mainieri and Steps Ahead, followed by a succession of gigs with prominent players that showcased his pyrotechnic chops and depth of musicality in an international arena. He has since gone on to develop as a conceptualist/composer in a myriad of genre-bending settings. And now comes “Principles of Music.”
Baker is eloquent, and occasionally poetic, in assessing the aspects of harmony, sound, phrasing, melody, space, energy and unity that go into making up a personal voice. His understanding of these devices and of the concept of music with a capital ‘M’ is positively eerie…like an old soul in a young body speaking the truth.
Listen to this young Siberian tiger, who is eager to unleash his new-old wisdom on a new generation of musicians waiting to conquer the world. – Bill Milkowski
Bill Milkowski is a contributor to Jazz Times and Jazziz magazines. He is also the author of “JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius” and co-author of “Here and Now: The Autobiography of Pat Martino” (both on Backbeat Books)
The track above features various uses of the musical examples in the second chapter (“Melody”) of Principles of Music, with both the main riff, clean toned voicing and solo material all either taken directly from, or inspired by the material featured in the chapter.