American Fingerstyle Guitarist

Michael Moore & Duck Baker

Two important American expatriate musicians have united for an occasional duo that has been heard in the US, the UK and the Netherlands during the last couple of years. Guitarist Duck Baker has lived in England for the past five years, while clarinetist-saxophonist Michael Moore has been based in Amsterdam since 1982. Moore is probably best known for his work with Misha Mengelberg’s Instant Composers Pool Orchestra and Han Bennink in the Clusone 3, but has worked in a wide variety of settings. Moore began to earn serious recognition as a composer with 1994’s Chicoutimi, which featured a drummerless trio (with Fred Hersch, piano, and Mark Helias, bass). He is also a member of another trio with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Michael Vatcher, called Jewels and Binoculars, which is devoted to interpretations of Bob Dylan songs. In 1986, Moore won the VPRO/Boy Edgar Award, regarded as the most prestigious jazz award in the Netherlands.

Duck Baker is one of the most highly regarded fingerstyle guitarists of his generation, and has earned respect in musical circles that are usually quite distinct, from Irish traditionalists to swing jazzers to free improvisers. In fact, one was to sum up Baker’s music would be to say that he has taken the techniques of Merle Travis and Chet Atkins and applied them both to older and more modern styles. Baker’s 1997 recording of Herbie Nichols tunes, Spinning Song, established him in the vanguard of fingerstyle jazz guitarists, but his own compositional style has also gained widespread attention. In addtion to his activities as a soloist, he regularly works with a trio with Alex Ward on clarinet and Joe Williamson on bass, as well as in duo with trombone legend Roswell Rudd.

The Moore-Baker duo perform everything from reworked traditional tunes to free improvisation, but with a strong focus of advanced modern jazz, including compositions of Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols, and originals by both performers.