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Steve Baker is one of today's most influential harp players and an integral part of the modern harmonica scene. He was born and raised in London, England and now lives near Hamburg, Germany, where he first came in the late 1970s with the legendary jugband "Have Mercy". Recently cited as one of the world's top ten blues harmonica stylists by no less than Detlev Hoegen, boss of the renowned blues label CrossCut Records, Steve has been a full-time professional for over 35 years and has earned an enviable reputation as an innovator and pioneer on this frequently under-estimated instrument. He has developed an instantly recognizable original style which is both expressive and lyrical, but is never merely an end in itself. It puts the music first and his playing is always directed at bringing out the best in the song rather than emphasizing his undoubted virtuosity. His subtle and rhythmically accented phrasing, combined with a rich command of timbre and tone, communicates an emotional intensity and depth of feeling which is rarely heard on the harmonica. For this reason he is often regarded as one of those players who have revitalized the instrument in Europe, and as one of its leading exponents worldwide. His unique sound draws on the blues harmonica tradition and combines it with elements from country, folk, funk, soul and jazz to create an exciting and individual fusion, which transcends stylistic boundaries while sounding totally natural.

steve baker"When Steve Baker plays, I listen! He is my favorite European harp player and one of the most powerful and moving melodic players that I have ever heard, with tone to boot. He can lay it out sweet and serene or vicious and nasty, always keeping me on the edge of my seat, deeply enthralled by the creativity of his music." Joe Filisko

Steve Baker frequently appears live with Abi Wallenstein & Blues Culture (www.bluesculture.com), performing 50-60 shows a year in Europe. After making several studio albums together, BluesCulture released a long-awaited live CD �In Concert� in autumn 2009. Until the latter's untimely death in autumn 2005, Steve performed and recorded regularly with guitarist/songwriter extraordinaire Chris Jones. Together they released four critically acclaimed CDs on Acoustic Music Records and toured in Australia, Poland, Russia and the USA as well as in western Europe. Chris was a hard act to follow, but Steve is currently working on a new project with Canadian guitar virtuoso and singer Dave Goodman which promises to be a worthy successor to his work with Jones. Goodman & Baker started touring in early 2011 and are working on a CD to showcase this exciting new act. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 Steve Baker was invited to perform at the annual SPAH harmonica festival in St. Louis, Sacramento and Minneapolis, USA, where he fronted several shows as a bandleader including much talked about appearances with Jason Ricci's band New Blood, Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors feat. Rusty Zinn, the Andy Just Band and Jimi Lee.

Steve has played on hundreds of recordings as a studio musician and can be heard on a wide variety of CD productions by artists including Dionne Warwick, Marla Glenn, Klaus Doldinger, Irmin Schmidt, James Last, Bonnie Tyler and many more, as well as on countless jingles and German pop productions. He can be heard on numerous film and TV soundtracks including 'Soul Kitchen' by cult German/Turkish director Fatih Akin, which was awarded a special prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2009. Since 1987 he has worked as a consultant for the worldwide leader in harmonica manufacture, Hohner, and has been closely involved in the development of several new models including the Marine Band Deluxe and the recently released Marine Band Crossover.

Steve is also a highly regarded author of harmonica literature and has written a number of instructional books. "The Harp Handbook" (Music Sales), first published in 1990 and now in its 4th edition, is considered the standard work on the diatonic harp and is often referred to as the "harmonica player's bible". The CD-ROM "Interactive Blues Harp Workshop" (1999, Voggenreiter) was the first work of its kind in this field. From 2000 to 2007 he published the 3 volumes of his series "Blues Harmonica Playalongs" (Artist Ahead, www.artist-ahead.de), high-end practise material for ambitious harmonica players which have been very well received on the international harmonica scene, and has also written the successful beginner's book/CD package "Step By Step", now available in five languages including Russian. Alongside these activities, Steve presents regular clinics for Hohner in music stores and is one of the most active figures in harmonica education in Europe. In 2000 he gave the first ever course for the instrument at the renowned Schorndorf Guitar Days. Despite the initial scepsis of the organisers, his class was rapidly booked out and the harmonica course has subsequently become a regular feature of the event. In 2003 he initiated the Harmonica Masters Workshops in Trossingen, home of the Hohner production facilities in Germany. The positive response (over 80 players from all over Europe took part) has led to regular sequels in subsequent years and the HMW is now regarded as the premier educational event for blues harmonica in Europe. In summer 2009 Steve and French journalist Robert Koch founded the European Blues & Roots Masterclass to present musical summer holidays in Alsace, France, with classes for harmonica, guitar and cajon. This event is now in its third year and has found numerous devotees.

www.european-blues-masterclass.com

Few people succeed in making a varied and satisfying living from the harmonica, and even fewer have been able to play such an influential role in the development of their instrument. Steve Baker is one of them.

www.stevebaker.de
www.myspace.com/harpbaker
www.youtube.com/stevebakerbluesharp
Contact & bookings: artists@nicobaker.com