Thumbs on the Outside
by Michael Baird and guests, recorded 2021
Known for his 'Voodoo-Jazz' style, at the centre of which is his melodic drumming, and always with one foot in Africa and one foot in Europe, Zambian-born Michael Baird continues along his own contemporary path of African abstractions and deep grooves. With guests Lilo (NL) - vocals, Pino Basile (IT) - tamburello & cupaphon, Marianne Noordink (NL) - alto flute & flute, Rémi Charmasson (F) - guitars, Michael Moore (USA) - clarinet & alto sax. About the album title: as any bush-driver will tell you, never have your thumbs on the inside of the steering wheel, as a hidden hole or dip can suddenly cause the wheel to jerk round and many thumbs have been broken that way. And drummers need their thumbs!
Tracklist: 1. Baonoko Central Station, 2. Hello Hello Lilo (feat. Lilo), 3. Four Sevens (feat. Pino), 4. Ainu (feat. Rémi), 5. Kasaï Neighbours, 6. Raspmerrie, 7. Gabon (feat. Michael M), 8. Radius Action, 9. St. Pancreas, 10. Resurgent (feat. Marianne), 11. Monday's Heat Wave.
Songlines 2022 (GB): "He continues to dabble with the voodoo theme in an eclectic collection of highly enjoyable soundscapes. It's not all percussion - there is some excellent guitar, flute, clarinet and saxophone, adding melody and atmosphere. ...particularly striking... bold and adventurous... deeply meditative... delicate. Gloriously adventurous and enjoyable."
Muzikifan 2022 (USA): We are catapulted into a wild journey from ‘Baonoko Central Station’ onwards, where relentless rhythms propel us into an aural landscape of moving machines in rapidly changing terrain. The album suggests a myriad of influences, but Africa is in Baird’s veins. There is tapped bottle and some buzzing rattles and a wonderful distorted lead over marimba, all perfectly mixed into a trance groove. There is great variety and compelling rhythm aplenty here.
Desert Jazz 2022 (JP): “過去に日本でも人気を博した彼のソロ作と同様、エクスペリメンタルな面白さに溢れているし、リヴァーブ感もマイケルらしい処理だと思う。アフリカに生まれ探求を続けてきたマイケルにしか生み出せないサウンドだろう。マイケルのソロ・アルバムとしては、これまでで一番いいんじゃないだろうか。” "Like his solo work, which was popular in Japan in the past, it is hidden in experimental amusement, and I think it's a Michael-like treatment...it's a sound that only Michael can make, who was born in Africa and continued his exploration. Probably the best Michael solo album ever."
Jazzflits 2022 (NL): “In het schrijven van instrumentale liedjes is Baird trouwens een meester. In al deze diversiteit blijft Baird fier overeind als een originele muzikale stem die de invloeden verwerkt tot een zinvol geheel.” “By the way, Baird is a master in writing instrumental songs. In all this diversity Baird stands proud as an original musical voice who processes the influences into a meaningful whole.”