Steve Baker grew up in London and has lived in Germany since the late 1970s. A self-taught musician who took up the harmonica in 1969, he has played the instrument professionally since 1975 and has been 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 now lives near Hamburg, where he first came in the late 1970s with the crazed Anglo-American jugband "Have Mercy".
A full-time professional musician for almost 35 years now, he has earned an enviable reputation as an innovator and pioneer on the frequently under-estimated diatonic harmonica and 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. 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. "I want every note to tell a story".
Steve has performed and recorded for over 20 years with blues icon Abi Wallenstein, most recently in the trio BluesCulture with Martin Röttger. BluesCulture have performed on a number of international festivals including the Vienna Blues Spring, Piazza Blues and Moscow Harmonica Festival as well as giving countless club concerts. Until the latter's untimely death in autumn 2005, Steve performed and recorded regularly with guitarist/songwriter extraordinaire Chris Jones. Jones and Baker released four critically acclaimed CDs together on Acoustic Music Records and toured in Australia, Poland, Russia and the USA as well as in western Europe. Reviving a musical partnership going back over 30 years, Steve released the country blues CD “King Kazoo” with singer/guitarist Dick Bird on Acoustic Music Records in 2008.
In 2010 he met Canadian guitar virtuoso and singer/songwriter Dave Goodman, and after jamming together a few times, Goodman & Baker decided to join forces for a new project. In 2012 they released the highly acclaimed CD "The Wine Dark Sea" (AMR 319.1478). They now perform together as the Dave Goodman Band with drummer Oliver Spanuth and are currently putting together material for a new CD.
Since 2008 Steve Baker has been a regular guest at the annual SPAH harmonica festival in the USA, where he has fronted several shows as a bandleader including appearances with Jason Ricci’s band New Blood, the Blues Survivors feat. Rusty Zinn and in duos with Jimi Lee and Eric Noden.
In the 1980s and 90s Steve played on hundreds of recordings as a studio musician and was featured 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, TV and film soundtracks. More recently he appeared on the soundtrack to “Soul Kitchen” by cult German/Turkish director Fatih Akin, which was awarded the 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 the recent additions to the legendary Marine Band range of harmonicas including the Marine Band Deluxe, Marine Band Crossover and Marine Band Thunderbird.
WORKSHOP: Accompaniment in Blues, Rock & Country Music