Called “Near perfection!” by AllAboutJazz.com, critically acclaimed vocalist JEFF BAKER returns in 2017 with his most ambitious and personal recording yet. ‘PHRASES’ is a musical collaboration with some of Bakers closest friends, and iconic jazz musicians he has admired for years. The album features original songs and arrangements based on lines from the most provocative texts in our history by writers like Pablo Neruda, J.D. Salinger, and Salvador Plascencia.
“I took these beautiful phrases and lines, and created new stories around them, drawing from my significant musical influences, regardless of genre.” said Baker “The music of Steve Reich, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, the Fellowship Band and others has always resonated deeply with me. It wasn’t until I committed to making a record of originals however, that I finally felt I had an appropriate vehicle to respond to all that music. I want to honor these artists who’ve meant so much to me and to the music. I want to tell them (hopefully through my songs) how grateful I am for what they’ve made, and how much it’s impacted me.”
Joining Baker as musical director & Co-producer, is acclaimed pianist and composer, Darrell Grant. “Darrell has been an incredible part of this project. He’s helped me elevate and codify my ideas, and has written everything from horn parts to a wonderful arrangement of a Jose Gonzalez tune. I would not have been able to fully realize ‘PHRASES’ without Darrell’s brilliant collaboration and contribution.” said Baker
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the PHRASES project, is the inclusion of Bakers long time friends and some of the most influential and compelling jazz musicians in the world today: Brian Blade, Steve Wilson, Marquis Hill, Clark Sommers, Geof Bradfield, and Gregory Uhlmann. “Jazz musicians talk all the time about their ‘Dream Bands’. Here I am, getting to record with my ACTUAL Dream Band! I wrote this music with these musicians in mind, and I am beyond humbled that they’ve agreed to be part of this project.”
All photos by Steve Korn