MATT BAKER - BIO
Australian born Jazz Pianist Matt Baker leads a powerful trio in New York City where he has called home since 2010. He performs regularly as a sideman at jazz venues including Birdland and The Blue Note, tours both within the USA and internationally and has released 6 albums, his latest a DVD album “Live at Birdland”.
In 2019 Matt premiered his brand new project “A Rhapsody Of Gershwin”, at the Birdland Jazz Club New York, presenting a whole new spin on the music of one of America’s most celebrated composers, with an all-star lineup from the heart of New Yorks jazz scene, including Endea Owens on bass, Curtis Nowoasd on drims, and 2019 Grammy nominee vocalist Nicole Zuraitis.
The project – Gershwin arranged like never before fusing jazz with classical, comprises music from Porgy and Bess, An American in Paris, the Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F, plus other exciting gems from the classical and popular worlds of George Gershwin!
Matt Baker’s sideman credits include touring and performing with vocalists Ann Hampton Callaway, Jennifer Holliday, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle, Veronica Swift (2015 Monk competition winner), Tierney Sutton, Arianna Neikrug (2015 Sarah Vaughan competition winner), guitar icon Bucky Pizzarelli, tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm and Judy Collins.
Matt Baker was an award winner himself in the 2003 Montreux International Solo Jazz Piano competition and a semi-finalist in 2004 and 2005. A student of Taylor Eigsti’s since moving to New York, Matt watched Oscar Peterson perform live an entire week at the Blue Note, from which a friendship between the two formed in the remaining years of Peterson’s life. Baker has also studied with Mulgrew Miller, Benny Green, Jacky Terrasson, and Ella Fitzgerald’s life-long accompanist Paul Smith.
“The Australian piano whiz..”
Stephen Holden, The New York Times, Oct 2014
“Baker has a playful approach to melody, particularly on the standards that he interprets with Joe Sanders and Gregory Hutchinson.”
Shaun Brady, DOWNBEAT Magazine, March 2012
“Swings confidently ... full of clever reharmonizations and hip syncopation. The threesome demonstrates seamless group chemistry.”
Bill Milkowski, JAZZ TIMES, April 2012
“Matt Baker is one of the most respected and versatile pianist-composers yet to come out of Australia. Baker’s playing sounds as though it belongs on ECM. An exceptional pianist.”
Tony Hall, JAZZ WISE UK, April 2012