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OUTER EAR: Renée Baker Artet

Violinist/composer Renée Baker will be leading her quintet Renée Baker Artet, which she has culled from her groundbreaking Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. Baker’s stated mission with this ensemble is to “do original creative music without the advantage of instruments that usually give a jazzy flavor.” To this end, she has intentionally recruited gifted improvisers whose training and experience are not primarily in jazz to avoid the temptation of falling into the trap of what she calls “regurgitated riffs” and hot-licks jazz clichés. With her own electric violin blazing the trail, and her personalized hands-free conducting style keeping everyone on keel and alert, Baker’s group summons a daunting palette of tones, colors, and textures, managing to sound both exploratory and meditative. For the Outer Ear performance, the Artet will perform the world premiere of a semi-suite entitled Ord Street Horizon, composed by Baker.


A rare commodity as a string instrumentalist and composer of symphony, chamber, jazz, ballet, film and eclectic ensemble works, AACM member Renée Baker has fused her vision of these genres with her sense of idiosyncratic elements of rhythm and textured movements. She has crafted a music that crosses all manner of experimental compositions, allowing both the listener and player to interact with the compositional elements with no judgment. Using traditional notation, graphic scores and non-specific musings, the music expresses her original vision that delights audiences with passion, sophistication and fervent creativity. She has worked with the likes of Anthony Braxton, Douglas Ewart, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Steve Beresford, David Boykin, Taylor Ho Bynum and Nicole Mitchell. As a member of the avant garde music collective AACM, she collaborates regularly with many luminaries of the creative music scene.