Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Baird, Michael (Christopher Michael Joseph Baird)

Baird, Michael [Christopher Michael Joseph Baird], drummer/composer/producer; b. Lusaka, Zambia, 5 July, 1954. Of British nationality, Baird's father was Colin Baird (06/08/25-2001) and his mother was Jennifer Webb (b. 10/08/29). Today, Michael has a daughter, Nusch Mercedes Rose Baird, born 18/03/94 in Utrecht, Holland.

Moved to England from Zambia in 1964 and settled in Holland in 1967. Started playing drums in 1968. Self-taught, except for a few private lessons with Art Taylor and workshops led by Afro-Caribbean percussionist Raul Burnet. Studied Philosophy and American Studies at Leicester University, England, for one year before becoming a professional musician in 1974.

Drummer with saxophonist Gijs Hendriks from 1975 to 1981, recording and co-producing six albums -with amongst others Slide Hampton, Siggi Kessler, Joe Diorio, Stan Tracey, Kenny Wheeler. Festivals of Laren (Netherlands), Northsea (also NL), Meervaart (NL), Lille (F), Balver HShle (D), Jazz Jamboree (PL). He's been a drum workshop leader, has been featured on many radio broadcasts and is co-founder of the Utrecht Jazz Foundation.

He created the multi-media group The One Voice Ensemble in 1984. He started composing around this time. Created the group Sharp Wood in 1985, which he led for ten years, playing in Holland, Belgium, Germany, France. Recorded and produced three albums. Festivals of Bollene (F), Northsea (NL), Paradiso Percussion (NL), Grenoble (F), SJU Jazz (NL), Leverkusen (D), Liege (B), Herford (D).

He created his own independent record label SWP Records in 1986, releasing albums of his own music and albums of traditional music from central and southern Africa. Also played in Andre Jaume/Jean-Marc Montera Quintet, Dick de Graaf/ Serge Lazarevitch Quartet, the group Vogelvijf - Festivals of Martigues (F), Middelsee (NL), tour of Italy, album with Vogelvijf. He was invited to the Baden-Baden New Jazz Meeting of 1993. His music-theatre project "Permanent Extinction" was performed in 1994. He was commissioned to compose for the "Pygmees and Elephants" project - Sharp Wood plus two tubas - in 1995, broadcast on radio. Disbanded Sharp Wood. Also, his compositions were commissioned for a project by artist Marijke Nielen.

In 1996, he did the music for the nature documentary "The War of the Ants" and took part in solo percussion performances in Holland. He received a scholarship from Dutch Ministry of Culture to study the music of Zambia and Zimbabwe. He has done research at International Library of African Music (ILAM), Grahamstown, South Africa. He has done feld recordings in Zambia for VPRO Radio and recorded and produced the album "On Remote Patrol," featuring international musicians.

In 1997, he created octet Utrecht Deep Artment. More compositions were commissioned for Utrecht Deep Artment. He created 'soundscape' for travelling exhibition about the Batonga from the Zambezi Valley and produced Batonga album of own recordings. In 1998, he recorded and produced the CD "Sirenians" by Utrecht Deep Artment, performing concerts in Holland and on radio broadcast. Further research was done at ILAM, Grahamstown, South Africa. He produced first four albums of a new CD series of historical African recordings by Hugh Tracey from the ILAM archive.

In 1999, he was commissioned to compose music coming out of a large gap created by an archeological dig. Three radio broadcasts of African music were compiled. He performed at the SJU Jazz Festival with Utrecht Deep Artment, radio broadcast. The year finished with Baird producing a fifth album in his Hugh Tracey series. He took part in a series of workshops in South Africa for the Gaudeamus Foundation in 2000 and created quintet Cape-Ability with South African musicians, performing concerts in South Africa. He also produced a further four albums in his Hugh Tracey series, created the septet Trendy 3D Junk and compiled one radio broadcast of African Music.

In 2001, he performed concerts with Trendy 3D Junk in Holland, compiled two radio broadcasts of African Music, did further research at ILAM, Grahamstown, South Africa, performed more concerts in South Africa with Rick van Heerden Quartet and produced three more albums in his Hugh Tracey series. In 2002 he recorded in Zambia and produced the album "Zambia Roadside - Music from Southern Province." More concerts took place in Holland, this time with with Steven Kamperman's M.O.T. sextet. He also recorded an album with M.O.T. (to be released in 2003). He continued to perform solo in Holland. He ereated Michael Baird/Karim Eharruyen Duo and performed concerts in Germany with Vitold Rek and Gerd Dudek. He is also involved in a painting/music project with artist Marijke Nielen.

In 2003, Baird created the quintet African Abstractions, performing with them in Holland. Further research was conducted at the ILAM in South Africa and six more CDs in the Hugh Tracey series were produced. He performed in Holland both as a solo performer and as part of his duo with Eharruyen.

Recordings:
On Remote Patrol (1996); Gongs and Bells (2002)

As sideperson:
Gijs Hendriks: On The Way (1976), Close to the Edge (1977), Dom Rocket (1979), Summer Session (1981); Gijs Hendriks/Joe Diorio Quartet: Live Recordings (1981);
Sharp Wood: Percussion (1986), Splinters (1990), Twig It (1993); Vogelvijf: This Side UP (led by Tjitze Vogel) (1993); Sirenians: Utrecht Deep Artment (1998)

Television and radio broadcasts:
With VPRO: VARA, KRO, TROS, AVRO, NOS, NPS, Concertzender (all in Holland), SWF (in Germany), RTBF, BRT (both in Belgium); TV broadcasts with VPRO (Holland), RTBF (Belgium).

Bibliography:
Written profiles/interviews in:
Jazz Nu, Volkskrant, Music Maker, OOR, Slagwerkkrant (all in Holland) NRC Handelsblad (also Holland), Weekend Post (South Africa), CD Journal, Indies Issue (Japan)

Contact information:
Michael Baird
baird@xs4all.nl
http://www.swp-records.com
Zilverstraat 9
3511 VB Utrecht
Holland

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