"For years I dreamed of a series-made traditional wooden body harmonica with improved covers, assembled with screws. With the Marine Band Deluxe , this dream has finally become reality."
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". Steve has been a full-time professional for over 30 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 appears live most frequently with Abi Wallenstein & Blues Culture (www.bluesculture.com), averaging at least 50-60 shows a year in Germany and elsewhere. He is also appearing again in a duo with the excellent singer/guitarist Dick Bird, with whom he has a musical association going back over 30 years. 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. Steve has also made hundreds of recordings as a studio musician and can be heard on a wide variety of CD, film and TV productions. 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 recently released Marine Band Deluxe.
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. In 2000 and 2003 he published volumes 1 & 2 of his series "Blues Harmonica Playalongs" (available from Mel Bay in the USA/Canada and Music sales elsewhere). He is currently working on volume 3. Alongside these activities, Steve presente regular clinics 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 harmonica 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 an essential part of the event. In 2003 Steve 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 sequels in 2004 and 2006. In 2004 he also gave a well attended harp course for the Mediterranean Music School in Tuscany.