Duck Baker Quartet
Duck Baker (guitar)
Alex Ward (clarinet)
John Edwards (bass)
Steve Noble (drums)
Album launch for Coffee for three
The Duck Baker Trio/Quartet returns to the Vortex to celebrate the release of the new CD, Coffee For Three, on the Copepod label. This is the first release by the quartet lineup after three trio releases, even though the group has performed together for many years. Baker made his reputation in the acoustic fingerstyle guitar world during the 1970s, with an eclectic approach that spanned everything from blues and ragtime to modern jazz. He was also involved with free jazz/free improv from the beginning of his career, working with the likes of with John Zorn and Eugene Chadbourne in the early days of New York’s Downtown scene. In the late 1990s, Baker made a splash in the jazz world with his recording of Herbie Nichols compositions, Spinning Song, produced by Zorn, and his most recent solo release is the Triple Point LP Duck Baker Plays Monk. His writing for the trio reflects the influence of these two masters.
Joining the guitarist in interpreting his edgy originals are clarinetist Alex Ward, bassist John Edwards, and drummer Steve Noble, all of whom are familiar to London audiences for their considerable contributions in the world of free improvisation. Baker’s writing for the quartet is his most harmonically advanced work, and the improvisational style is wide open, sort of a marriage of European free improv and American free jazz.
Alex Ward is a London-based clarinettist, guitarist and composer. Besides his work in free improvisation with musicians such as Dominic Lash and Joe Morris, he leads his own ensembles Forebrace, Item 10 and the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet and co-leads the avant-rock duo Dead Days Beyond Help.
Steve Noble is one of London’s leading drummers. Noble is a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith,Evan Parker, Thurston Moore. Ikue Mori Stephen O’Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, and many, many more.
John Edwards is a virtuoso bassist whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibilities for his instrument and dramatically expanded its role. Perpetually in demand, Edwards has worked with Evan Parker, Roscoe Mitchell, Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Lol Coxhill, and Peter Brötzmann, among others.
“Quite simply, Duck Baker is the premier American fingerstyle guitarist.” – Sing Out “He can go from the Mississippi Delta to the rings of Saturn” – The Village Voice
“The combination of reeds, pizzicato bass and Baker’s spiralling twang gives a quality both light and earthy to this music, breathy and physical.” – Clifford Allen, New York City Jazz Record