Michael Baird

Born Lusaka, Zambia, British nationality, resident in Holland.


From 1975-83 played and recorded with amongst others Gijs Hendriks (NL), Slide Hampton (USA), Kenny Drew (USA), Raul Burnet (CUR), Sonny Grey (USA), Siggi Kessler (D), Michel Herr (B), Michel Grailler (F), Joe Diorio (USA), Jan Akkerman (NL), Wim Overgaauw (NL), Stan Tracey (GB), Kenny Wheeler (CAN).

Founded own label SWP Records in 1986. Led own group Sharp Wood from 1986-96. Other own groups: octet Utrecht Deep Artment 1997-99, quintet CapeAbility in 2000, sextet Trendy 3D Junk in 2000-02, solo concerts Gongs And Bells in 2002-3, sextet African Abstractions in 2004-05, various other projects and composition commissions. Initiator Rhythm Orgy series in Utrecht, 2008-'11, searching for a new pan- african music. Sextet TranceMission in 2009, combining jazz, punk, africa. Octet Utrick City Impro Collective in 2011.

Read more
In the music of this quartet the European tradition is directly united with the African roots of Jazz, missing out America as it were. (Frankfurter Rundschau 1994 about SWP 003 'Twig It' by Sharp Wood)

The percussive character of the music can be heard in the compositions, that are based on usually short, rhythmic figures and exorcistic repetitions, which subtly interlock or are pleasantly irksome. An African element, made especially audible by Baird's melodic drumming. (De Volkskrant 1995 about the Pygmees and Elephants project).

There are few contemporary productions where African polyrhythms, western composition techniques and jazzy improvisations are mixed in such a fresh and surprising way. (Jazz Nu 1997 about SWP 004 'On Remote Patrol' by Michael Baird and Friends)

Utrecht Deep Artment dream, chirp and swing

Read more

Primary Instrument



3511 VB Utrecht

Willing to teach

Advanced students only.


Self-taught, except for afro-caribbean workshops by Raul Burnet and a couple of private lessons with Art Taylor. Has led workshops in Utrecht, Rotterdam, Groningen, South Africa. Now: some private pupils, teaching in home town Utrecht, rhythm workshops.

6 Photos


Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!