Michael Baird

Born Lusaka, Zambia, British nationality, first 10 years in Zambia then ‘repatriated’ to England and resident in Holland since he was thirteen. 

Drummer / composer / producer / field recordist.

Michael Baird on tour aged 10 months, Northern Province, Zambia
Michael Baird by hut aged 10 months Michael Baird on tour aged 10 months
by Jennifer Baird-Webb

From 1975-83 drummer in all Gijs Hendriks’ (NL) groups from trio to 12-piece band, also played and recorded with amongst others Slide Hampton (USA), Raul Burnet (CUR), Kenny Drew (USA), Sonny Grey (JAM), Siegfried Kessler (D), Michel Graillier (F), Michel Herr (B), Joe Diorio (USA), Jan Akkerman (NL), Wim Overgaauw (NL), Stan Tracey (GB), Kenny Wheeler (CAN).

Michael Baird in 1976, with Bert van Erk, Gijs Hendriks, Slide Hampton, Kenny Drew.
Michael Baird in 1976 - Gijs Hendriks Quintet with Kenny Drew
by Ton van Leeuwen

Founded own label SWP Records in 1986. Led own group Sharp Wood from 1986-96. Other own groups: sextet Pygmees & Elephants in 1995, octet Utrecht Deep Artment in 1997-99, quintet CapeAbility in 2000, sextet Trendy 3D Junk in 2000-02, solo project Gongs And Bells in 2002-3, sextet African Abstractions in 2004-05, sextet TranceMission in 2009, initiator of Rhythm Orgy series in Utrecht 2008-'11, octet Utrick City Impro Collective 2010-'11, various other projects and composition commissions.

Michael Baird in 1996
Michael in 1996
by Jaap van de Klomp
Michael Baird in 1996
Michael Baird on drums in 1996
by Hugo Gosse

Also played in the André Jaume(F)/Jean-Marc Montera (F) Quintet, in the quintet Vogelvijf led by Tjitze Vogel (NL), in the Dick de Graaf (NL)/Serge Lazarevitch (F) Quartet, in various settings with pianist Arend Nijenhuis (NL), and in the sextet MOT led by Steven Kamperman (NL).

In own groups played and recorded with amongst others: Broer van den Bogaart (NL), Hans Hasebos (NL), Albert Veenendaal (NL), Jogi Gillis (SUR), Michel Massot (B), Marianne Pousseur (B), Michiel Borstlap (NL), Ben Gerritsen (NL), David Tronzo (USA), Vitold Rek (PL), Michael Moore (USA), Michel Godard (F), Mark Lotz (D), Tjitze Vogel (NL), Paul Weiling (D), Konkie Halmeyer (CUR), Kofi Ayivor (GHA), Ousmane Seye (SEN), Jeroen van Vliet (NL), Zoumana Diarra (MALI), Rick van Heerden (SA), Kamal al Hors (MAR), Patrick Votrian (USA), Oké Sene (SEN), Layba Diawara (GUI), Lamin Kuyateh (GAM), Ebou Gaye Mada (GAM), Mamour Seck (SEN).

Michael Baird in 2000
Michael in Utrecht Promo 1 Michael in Utrecht Promo 2
by Károly Effenberger

Compiled and produced the monumental 22-cd series 'Historical Recordings by Hugh Tracey' of African music from the 40s and 50s, released by SWP Records. Extensive research of central, eastern and southern African music. Made own field recordings in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, in 1996, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010 - six albums so far of unique music also released by SWP Records.

Michael Baird in 2004
Michael Baird drumming in 2004
by Ton van Leeuwen
Michael Baird in 2005
Michael Baird in 2005
by Jaap van de Klomp

Michael Baird in 2009: “I see myself as a ‘modernist’, but all that means is that I am in a position to steal from all over the place. People ask me what kind of music I make - what can one say, other than you have to hear it. So these days I say: It's a bit jazzy, a bit African, and a bit abstract, which I mix up as I want - all ingredients which may be as old as the world, but it is still my soup!”

See also what the press has said about Michael Baird and his music - check the reviews.

Michael Baird with kankobela master Aaron Nchenje,
Zambia 2008
Michael Baird with kankobela master Aaron Nchenje, Zambia 2008
by Boudewijn Koole
Curriculum Vitae

Complete curriculum vitae of Michael Baird

Bakwa Magazine interview 2015

by John Wisniewski

Soul Safari interview 2010

by Eddy De Clercq

live clip 2009

extract from 'Heritage Groove', by the sextet TranceMission, with Michael Baird (ZAM) - drumset, Ousmane Seye (SEN)  - gongoma (bass kalimba), Terrie Hessels (NL) - guitar, Andy Moor (GB) - guitar, Steven Kamperman (NL) - alto clarinet, Henk Spies (NL) - tenor sax, live in Tropentheater, Amsterdam 01/04/09.

live clip 2009

drum intro plus theme 'Fast Jazz' by Michael Baird, live in Amsterdam 01/04/09 with his sextet TranceMission

trailer 2008

This was the trailer of a full-length documentary film that was to be made by Dutch filmmaker Rogier Kappers about Hugh Tracey and the phenomenon of central, eastern and southern African music, with Michael Baird as music advisor. Alas, this film is not going to be completed. However, we hope that someone else will make such a documentary film in the near future.

Afropop interview 2006
by Banning Eyre