Written by Walter Bryant
Every once in a while, you stumble upon a guitar player that opens your mind to a way of playing that is completely outside your zone of thinking. Well, Bryan Baker fits this category, and “outside” is the perfect way to describe the way this guy rips! Utilizing what sounds like a completely atonal approach, Baker is in fact well versed in all facets of musical theory, but seems to favor the outside playing style he’s grown known for. Prodigious in his own right, Baker received a full scholarship to the Brooklyn Academy of Music at the age of 13, and a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music at age 16. He has remained an active musician since the age of 12, and has created quite a name for himself among a variety of musical genres.
Gaining an immense amount of exposure for his time with the fusion super-group Steps Ahead, Baker’s playing has often been compared to that of saxophone player, Ornette Coleman. But fusion and straight-ahead jazz isn’t Baker’s only forte. The man has just as much chops when he decides to pick up a 7-string for his progressive metal act “Vesser”, or composing a few classical numbers on his acoustic. With qualities heavy in rhythm and sonic variety, Baker makes his endless lines of signature note groupings look effortless. Coupled with his lively presence on stage and habit of mouthing notes as he plays them, watching Bryan Baker perform becomes a truly gratifying experience. His exceptional ability to create themes entirely on his own and on the fly is a testament to how amazing this guy’s improvisational skills are as well. Sync all of this with his raw, organic tone and you’ve got one all-around super-player!
With six critically-acclaimed albums under his belt and a resume full of top-tier collaborative work, Baker is no slacker. He continues to build his name with his successful guitar instructional book entitled “Principles Of Music”, and is set to release a follow-up book in the near future entitled “Between The Notes: concepts for discovering your voice within the world of non-tonal harmony.” He is also working on several side projects including a second album with his Roots/Doom/Sludge band Black Baptista as well as writing and recording a debut album for his Progressive/Technical/ Extreme metal band Vesser. You can keep up with everything Baker is working on at his website: www.bryanbakermusic.com. You can also find most of his collaborative work with acts like Steps Ahead on YouTube. Check out the videos we posted below of him choppin’ it up with Bob van Luijt and Sebastiaan Cornelissen and then playing an amazing acoustic improvisational piece in The Royal Chapel! …Enjoy!