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DUCK BAKER - Shades Of Blue

DUCK BAKER - Shades Of Blue
Fulica Records FCD102

Recently overseeing the release of five albums of back-catalogue as well as new material, guitarist Duck Baker is a busy man. His career spans back to the early 1970s and, still recording and touring prodigiously, he is seen as one of America’s top guitarists covering an eclectic mix of styles from traditional Irish music through bluegrass to blues, ragtime and modern jazz, to free improvisation and more. A long time visitor to UK folk clubs he now lives in England, has recorded 29 solo albums and is a prodigious composer.

The County Set, a double CD, features 25 tracks, half of which were recorded in 1985 at Robin Morton’s Temple Studio. Some feature Brian McNeill on fiddle and Dick Lee on alto sax and swing between traditional Celtic pieces and bebop and hard bop jazz and with some mellifluous guitar playing.

Shades Of Blue features 10 tracks from the past 15 years and reflects a bluesy side, tinged with Baker’s collaborations with jazz and blues musicians. Clarinet, trombone, violin and alto sax feature and lend a laid back jazzy feel with some more traditional than others. Baker is not frightened to cut loose on tracks like Coltrane’s Mr Syms, with long improvised solos shared with the fellow musicians. Other numbers are self penned. The album swings and flows and places Baker firmly within a jazz camp highlighting his exquisite guitar playing.

John Carnie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.