Michael Baker Obituary, Death – Michael Baker, the renowned drummer who served as Bruce Hornsby’s touring drummer from 1998 to 1999, passed away on July 9, 2023. His contributions to the music industry and his impressive collaborations across various genres solidify his status as a jazz veteran of great acclaim. Michael’s extensive list of collaborations reads like a hall of fame, including legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Luther Vandross, Sting, and James Taylor. He even had the honor of performing at Michael Jackson’s 30th-anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden. Notably, he served as the drummer and music director for Whitney Houston for an impressive 18 years.
Michael Baker’s body of work extends far and wide, encompassing a diverse range of talents and accomplishments. A graduate of North Texas State University’s esteemed jazz program in the late 1970s, Michael’s skills reached beyond drumming. He was a dedicated student of ballet, showcasing his multidimensional artistic interests. In addition, he proved himself as a distinguished composer and producer. His notable achievements include conducting Whitney Houston’s comeback performance of “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” at the 2010 American Music Awards and producing Aretha Franklin’s performance on the Arista Music 25th Anniversary Special. Michael also wrote and arranged music for HBO specials and Sports Illustrated events, showcasing his versatility in the industry. Moreover, he produced and directed the acclaimed “Soul Divas Tour” featuring Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Natalie Cole in 2004.
During his tenure with Bruce Hornsby, Michael contributed to the albums “Big Swing Face” and “Here Come the Noisemakers.” His presence on stage was felt particularly during Bruce’s Yoshi’s residency in 1998. A testament to his remarkable talent, a recording of the show from November 4, 1998, is available for download, capturing Michael’s extraordinary drum solo and his enduring partnership with J.V. Collier.
The news of Michael Baker’s passing weighs heavy on the hearts of his family, friends, and the music community as a whole. His legacy as a world-class drummer, composer, and producer leaves an indelible mark on the industry. His exceptional skills and the breadth of his collaborations have undoubtedly influenced and inspired countless musicians. As we bid farewell to this remarkable talent, we extend our deepest condolences to Michael’s family and friends, cherishing the memory of his extraordinary contributions to the world of music.