Sometimes, when you hear a particular artist, you are drawn to his or her or their gift - and you cannot explain why. That's what happened when yours truly heard Matt Baker. The clarity of his piano, the voice that draws you in....it was deja vu. Suddenly, visions of the 60's flashed - when childhood days were simpler. And the greatness of music was appreciated in ways that we have forgotten in 2016. But if Matt has anything to say about it, those kinds of days will be returning. Your writer here has absolute confidence in that :)
"Almost Blue" is Matt's 5th album as leader and second since 2010 - when he moved from his native Sydney to New York City. But there is so much more to his fascinating story! For instance, in 2002, Matt returned to Australia after meeting Oscar Peterson. Within a short time, he had recorded "Talkin' Soul Food" - which was alive with the hope of a lifelong friendship - full of inspiration that Oscar gave him. On the merit of that work, Matt was invited to Montreux to play in 2003. Claude Nobs brought the tiny group back the next year - and Matt entered the Piano Competition as well. For two years. He most assuredly made friends - and this is how: he picked the brains of the most awesome talents that frequented that legendary Swiss event. That's how Matt Baker rolls ;)
When he finally arrived to stay in 2010, our guest relentlessly made the rounds of any club within his sights. Not only did he rekindle his firm alliance with Mr. Peterson, but he was also mentored by other GREATS. In 2011, we heard "Underground." And Matt was able to catch the ears of significant artists: Judy Collins and Bucky Pizzarelli among them. With "Almost Blue" doing SO well, THIS is a new phase. Let's enjoy it with Matt - on 7/19/16.
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