Duck Baker is one of the most highly regarded fingerstyle guitarists of his generation. He is unique among jazz guitarists in that his repertoire spans the entire history of the music from ragtime through swing to modern masters like Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols to free improvisation. Baker’s devotion to American music also encompasses more traditional forms like blues, gospel, and Appalachian music and its Scots-Irish ancestry. This catholicism has been likened to Europeans who perform the classical repertoire from renaissance through to modern music.
Duck was born Richard R. Baker IV in 1949 and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He passed his teenage years playing in rock and blues bands before becoming interested in acoustic blues. Local ragtime pianist Buck Evans was a major influence on Baker’s evolution. By the time he moved to San Francisco in the early seventies, he was performing the wide range of material heard on his first record for the Kicking Mule label, “There’s Something for Everyone in America”. In addition to developing his solo style, Baker joined a bluegrass band and immersed himself in the local swing jazz scene, forming a duo with guitarist Thom Keats and performing with such Bay Area luminaries as Burt Bales and Robin Hodes. Baker remains active in this music, leading a trio with guitarist Bob Wilson and fiddler Tony Marcus.
Duck’s most ambitious record, “Spinning Song”, which is devoted to the music of Herbie Nichols, got rave reviews in Jazz Times, Cadence, Coda, and the New York Times, and helped establish Baker as an important voice in the world of fingerstyle jazz guitar. Various critics named “Spinning Song” among the best jazz records of 1997 in Cadence and Coda magazines, and it placed high on the Cadence reader’s poll of that year. Acoustic Guitar magazine dubbed it “one of the best guitar records ever recorded – by anybody.”
Duck Baker is considered to be one of today’s finest fingerstyle swing guitarists. In this lesson he teaches the basics of how to put that "swing" in to your playing. This is not a lesson for beginners. Duck presumes that you can already fingerpick using an alternating bass technique in the style of Mississippi John Hurt or Chet Atkins. Duck shows you how to expand this style and take it to a different level so that you can fingerpick swing tunes. Along the way he explains and explores rhythm chords and changes that you will need to incorporate in to your playing.
Four well known tunes from the swing repertoire are taught and the arrangements are fully explained phrase by phrase. Each arrangement is then illustrated on a split-screen that clearly shows what each hand is performing. This lesson will help you develop your own individual technique for playing fingerstyle swing guitar.
Titles include: Redwing, I Got Rhythm, Bei Mier Bist Du Schoen and Never Swat A Fly
88 minutes • Level 2 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD