Michael Baker Obituary, Death – Michael Baker, who toured with Bruce Hornsby in 1998 and 1999, died on July 9, 2023. Michael played drums for Bruce during his historic 1998 residency at Yoshi’s. Michael, a veteran of the jazz world, applied it to a wide variety of musical styles; the list of artists with whom he has worked reads more like a hall of fame than a who’s who: Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Luther Vandross, Sting, and James Taylor, to name just a few. He played at Michael Jackson’s 30th anniversary concert in MSG and was Whitney Houston’s drummer and musical director for 18 years.
Michael has a diverse body of work, spanning from jazz to ballet to composing and producing. He graduated from North Texas State University’s jazz school in the late ’70s. His work includes producing Aretha Franklin’s performance on the Arista Music 25th Anniversary Special and conducting Whitney Houston’s comeback performance of “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” at the 2010 American Music Awards. In 2004, he produced and directed the “Soul Divas Tour” including Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Natalie Cole.
He has also composed and arranged music for HBO specials and Sports Illustrated events. Michael worked on the albums Big Swing Face and Here Come the Noisemakers with Bruce, and he attended Bruce’s 1998 stay at Yoshi’s. The show from November 4, 1998, which features Michael’s legendary drum solo and ongoing collaboration with J.V. Collier, is available for download here. Our condolences go out to Michael’s loved ones.