Former jazz trombone player turned keyboard rock musician, Bob Chaz Baker began his performing career voted top trombone soloist at the Wichita Jazz Festival in 1971. Nicknamed Chaz Baker, he joined the group Smoke Ring along with Tommy Shaw (Styx) in the spring of 1972. The group soon changed their name to MS Funk after recording in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. After a short tour with Jerry Lee Lewis, Chaz was influenced by Jerry Lee to change from playing horns to piano in one statement. “Horn players will come and go but they will always need piano players to Rock ‘n Roll.” Dedicating himself to keyboards, digital pianos and synthesizers, Chaz performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians including Tommy Shaw (MS Funk, Styx), Dan Fogelberg, Mark Andes (Firefall, Heart), Larry Stewart (Airborne) and Rosemary Butler (Jackson Brown, James Taylor). He has recorded at Paragon & Sound Studios (Chicago), Paramount Studios (LA), Widget Studios (Muscle Shoals), and Northstar, Applewood, Caribou, FTM Studios (Colorado).
Now Bob Chaz Baker, he began studying jazz with Bill and Ted Alexander in the late 70’s and early 80’s. His gospel influence came after attending Living Waters Tabernacle in Denver where he currently helps with solo piano and accompaniment.
Bob’s most recent CD’s “Romance Language of Music” and “Christmas Morning” are indicative of the direction that his music is headed. He will thrill you with his natural feel for a variety of genres influenced by his Filipino/Irish multi-racial background and his classical, jazz, rock and gospel experiences. Bob has played to sold out audiences at the Lone Tree Arts Center, Dazzle Jazz and performed with Liz Story and Lisa Downing at the Cherokee Ranch and Castle in Colorado. He has recently returned from a successful tour in Spain where he performed to packed houses with Mario Lopez Santos (Spain), Lisa Downing (USA) and Mine Kawakami (Japan).
★★★★★ From MainlyPiano
Sometimes tender and lyrical and sometimes upbeat and effervescent, there is a very impressive collection of music on this relatively short album.
“The Romance Language of Music” begins with “Crisanta’s Dream,” a beautiful love song with a gracefully-flowing left hand and a sweetly lyrical right – sure to evoke a contented sigh! “Rapture in the Quiet” is blissful tranquility set to music. Passionate and intense in some passages, this is a good kind of intensity that doesn’t disturb the peaceful vibe of the piano. “The Romance, The Storm, The Resolve” is the longest of the five pieces at a little over six minutes. It begins with a quiet, melodic delicacy that gently builds to a little past the mid-point of the piece (the romance), becomes much more dramatic with powerful chords (the storm), and again becomes peaceful (the resolve). It’s a beautiful concept piece! “Gethsemane” tells its poignant story without words, relying on emotionally expressive playing to tell the tale in a heartfelt way that words never can. “Joy” goes into an entirely different direction and literally dances for joy with breathless excitement and enthusiasm.
As I was writing this review, I kept thinking, “This is my favorite” with each track. The pieces are all outstanding and you can download the entire album for under $10. Recommended!