Duck Baker

Duck’s Contributions


June 2002    Books

Black Bottom Stomp: Eight Masters of Ragtime and Early Jazz
David A. Jasen and Gene Jones

“Did you know that Scott Joplin died penniless in New York, that Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have invented jazz in 1902?” Thus the dust jacket asks the would-be buyer of Jasen and Jones’ new book, and one certainly suspects that this series of biographical...


March 2002    Albums

On This Day
Dave Ballou

On This Day reminds me of recordings made by modern jazz players of the post-hard-bop era in response to free jazz, like the Don Friedman/Attila Zoller collaborations in the '60s. The musicians here sound like they usually play inside, but for On This Day...


March 2002    Albums

Joplin's Disciple
Brun Campbell

What an unexpected delight this release is! The recordings of Brun Campbell existed as one side each on two long-unavailable LPs, sharing billing with Dink Johnson, whose efforts were of more historical than musical interest. The excellent notes supplied...


March 2002    Albums

Inside Chicago Volume 1
Brad Goode/Von Freeman

Trumpeter Brad Goode is one of those smart fellows who records a lot of his own gigs, and the result is that he is now sitting on a big pile of tapes that demonstrate the health and vitality of the straightahead scene in Chicago. SteepleChase has issued...


March 2002    Albums

Adam Rafferty Trio

On his notes to Kush, Adam Rafferty talks about how much he likes playing in the guitar-bass-drums format. Some of the reasons he lists have to do with practical and economic issues. He also mentions enjoying the extra space and commensurate responsibility...


November 2001    Albums

The Columbia Years (1962-1968)
Thelonious Monk

No sooner had Monk achieved widespread recognition in the early '60s than the cognoscenti began to grumble that he was in a rut. The principal complaints were that Monk was no longer writing great tunes; that his saxman, Charlie Rouse, wasn't a genius like...


June 2001    Albums

Remembering Eric Dolphy
Vic Juris

Vic Juris is a versatile and impressively accomplished guitarist. His playing exudes warmth, intelligence and respect for the tradition. Perhaps best of all, he seems to understand that the foregoing positives also apply to a legion of contemporary guitarists...


June 2001    Albums

Vic Juris

The excellent program on Songbook features fare both well-known ("Billie's Bounce," "All the Things You Are") and less familiar (Golson's "Touch Me Lightly"). But Juris takes lots of chances here. Bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Jeff Hirshfield appear on...


June 2001    Books

Birth of the Cool: Beat, Bebop, and the American Avant-Garde
Lewis MacAdams

The aim to delineate the evolution of a cultural trend that influenced music, painting, letters and other forms of expression seems a good one, and a more serious book about how the various arts influenced each other in the postwar years would be welcome...


May 2001    Albums

Impressions of Mary Lou
John Hicks

Williams has gotten a lot of praise recently, and much of it is exaggerated. While nothing is served by the contention that only her gender kept her from being regarded as a giant (it was a very indifferent live performance that convinced me not to overrate...


May 2001    Albums

Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir
Ran Blake

Even though Horace Silver has always shown a predilection for somewhat unusual structures, his pieces are generally designed as blowing vehicles and it would be hard to find an aspiring jazzer who hasn't worked out on "Song For My Father," "The Preacher...


May 2001    Albums

The Music of Bud Powell
Joshua Breakstone

As Breakstone points out in his notes, Bud Powell is severely underrated as a composer. What credit he does get (and it is nowhere near enough) is as a soloist. A guitar-trio record wouldn't seem the ideal showcase for Bud's richly harmonized compositions...


May 2001    Albums

In the center of It All
Michael Marcus Trio

While any number of people claim to have been inspired by Rashaan Roland Kirk, Michael Marcus is one of a very few whose music has obviously been influenced by him. It puts Marcus in a curious position, however, since rabid Rashaanites are probably as likely...


May 2001    Albums

Mario Pavone

This is a reissue of music recorded in the mid-'80s and released on Pavone's Alacra label. Readers probably need to be reminded that Sharpville was a South African township much in the news of the time, but if the title has dated, the music certainly hasn...


May 2001    Albums

Patrick Zimmerli Ensemble

Zimmerli's Twelve Sacred Dances, was such an ambitiously demanding and thoroughly successful outing that I naturally expected Expansion to continue along the same lines, and it took me many listens to hear that it does in some essential ways. Gone are the...


April 2001    Albums

Live at Hanratty's
Dick Wellstood

Wellstood's Live at Hanratty's was originally released on two LPs, and as much as one hates to agree with William F. Buckley (whose opinion was asked, for some reason) about anything, there can be little doubt that the pianist is heard at his best here...

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