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mem_normal OFFLINE
82 years old
United States
Profile Views: 2585
[ 10 ]

INSTRUMENT PLAYED: Drums and Percussion
MEMBER SINCE: 05/29/2007
LAST LOGIN: 05/21/2010 23:40:12

Breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs, going to shoot Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet, Sharing experience of so many years in Music with those who just might be open to asking questions and getting opinions and answers, and Life on top of a Mountain in the New York Catskills.

All Music, but NOT RAP!

Autobiographies, as I like reality as opposed to make believe..

Jazz Drummers who share their knowledge with a Retired Principal Percussionist for 33 years with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Lincoln Center in N.Y., was previously with Boston Symphony / Pops, played so many Broadway shows as both Trap Drummer and Tympanist / Percussionist that I don't even know how many, graduated in early 1960s from New England Conservatory of Music with two Degrees in Music in Percussion Orchestral Performance, and as a young man in Boston played Traps with top Jazz Musicians as both Drummer and Vibist, also travelled as Trap Drummer with Ice Capades, played Storyville Jazz Club as a young teenager, and on and on, and although no one out there probably never heard of Herb Baker, at age 68 and retired needs help choosing a NEW Drumset to Groove on!

Friends who will not share knowledge with we Senior Percussionists who have retired after decades of very successful careers!

Almost 50 years as a very successful Drummer/Percussionist/Tympanist/Teacher.
Two Degrees in Percussion studying with Vic Firth at New England Conservatory of Music. Three years at Tanglewood as Student.. Played Slingerland Drums throughout my younger years, and before retiring, gave my original set to student who could not afford Drums at Xmas..
Boston Symphony/Pops - 33 Years Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as Princincal Percussionist where my Jazz Drumming came to be very handy, when we played Operas like "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogonny", written by Kurt Weill, German composer. It's a Jazz Opera, small ensemble as oppossed to 104 piece Orchestra.. Weill also wrote the "Three Penny Opera", where Mack the Knife actually comes from.. So much playing/recording/commercial experience,and still as a retired Dude is still learning about what's going down out there where you young Cats are grooving! Anyone want to share with an aging 'contemperary'?? I'm the man..
Much more, but I'll save you from that, and PLEASE know that all that I have written is with MUCH HUMILITY ! Let me hear from you, as Vic Firth, my Teacher and Good Friend told me as a young man at Conservatory ~ " Herb, don't ever play like a mouse pissing on a blotter!"
Never did, and taught that to my many students..
The people in the Balcony also paid to get in,so let 'em hear it, unless of course the ' Maestro ' sugessts that you 'cool it'!!

short2third has 1 friend(s)

Displaying 5 out of 5 comments
From: short2third
06/20/2008 03:05:46

I am in need for advice. After retirement ( I quit, ) I have now formed a Jazz Combo -(smooth Jazz) and have a great Yamaha Drumset that just came with special ordered Remo Fiberskyns.  Great tubs !! Sound is exactly what I wanted..

Now I need your educated advice as far as Cymbals. I'm up here on top of the N.Y. Catskills, and no where near a listening room to pick out Zildjian / Sabian Cymbals, so here's what I am looking for.. I want Cymbals with definitive stick articulation, a warm sound, not a long sustain, and of course of great quality..

When performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as Principal Percussionist for 33 years, I just asked the Cymbal companies to send boxes of Cymbals on consignment, and I and my members of the Percussion section carefully mixed and matched 100s of Cymbals and decided which to keep and not to keep.  Well now things have changed and I do NOT have the luxury of doing that, so with all that's out there, and I listen to various Cymbals on the websites, but you all know that's not the same a hands on testing and it's over tiny speakers, so it's not the way to go...

I don't need Crash Cymbals because I want a NOT long sustain and can use Ride Cymbals also as light Crash as you know..

 Hi-Hats ~ Man, there's so much out there, but I'm looking for a crisp chick on closing, stick articulation response and not a blowout sound, but a warm Jazz sound much like a Clayton Cameron, Connie Kay, Joe Morello in a small group.

Many of you are Rock Drummers, and I can dig it, but also know that your dedication to your chosen craft does not limit your openess to other Genres.

Please think about what you hear and see out there and maybe, just maybe you can help "Herb". That's me..

What's out there fellow members of a special Art called Quality Drumming?? 

It was my friend Anton Fig, a fellow Graduate of New England Conservatory of Music under Vic Firth, who was also my Teacher at NEC in 1962, 12 years earlier than Anton, who convinced me to get back to my roots in Jazz even after total knee replacement and losing virtually my eye sight to a disease called wet Macular Degeneration, which caused me to quit the Orchestra. Like my close friend all these years, Vic Firth who called me several times before and after knee replacement from various countries in Europe, I am as excited and turned on as I was as a Kid about grooving, and with much humilty I will say that, ' I am an excellent Drumset Drummer '.. I tell it like it is and even with years of playing virtually every Genre before I had to quit, I still as Anton says' Can kick Ass '!!  I appreciate his and many more very well known Drummers / Percussionists words of encouragement, and so I am and will groove..

When asked many years ago, why he continued to do so much as he was getting older, he replied, " Because if you rest, you ROT ! " the great Arthur Fiedler, Conductor of the Boston Pops with whom I played Tympani and was a friend..  When Vic was honored for 50 years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and someone said Mr. Firth is retiring, he interupted and said, " Wait a moment, I'm not retiring, I'm quiting !"  TRUE !

The rest is history with his big stick company.  I am 1 of the few students  that actually got Vic started in the Stick business, insofar that as a student, he came to a lesson of mine with 2 or 3 pair of snare drum stcks, and i asked to try them at the lesson..  I did, and asked if he made any more I'd like to get a couple of each size, and he did and I still have the original Vic Stix !  He mafde them at first for a special piece he was performing, and they were at first were not as they would develop into, meaning that they were warped, unevenly matched and to find 1 good pair to aloy of rolling on the table and clicking to get the matched wood sound density that they are today.. Don't believe Herb?  Ask Vic !!

Well now, that's alot of words here that I wrote, but I hope that some of you dudes can help an aging Fahhhhht as Vic has called me since I was 17 years old..

Someday you will age and perhaps ask a favor of one of the young cats out there.

Remember - If you rest, you ROT !

I await your help if you choose to help, and I would be for ever grateful and would answer any and all questions you might have from me.. It's important to give back many decades in Music and a sucessful career and share experiences and knowledge, so you got question for me ?   Just ask and I'm there for you..

      ' Make everyday your Masterpiece '

Thanks and until later ~~~ Later,  

            &nb sp;       Herb Baker

From: eriffod
09/05/2007 18:53:56
After reading your "About Me" above, it sounds like you were able to live out my high school dream for me. A man with your drumming experience would seem to be a very great asset to this site, I'm sure everyone here could learn something from you. Being physically disabled myself; I know where you're coming from though my disability caused no great loss to the music world as yours did. Sorry I can't help you with selecting a trap set as the last set I purchased was in the mid-sixties. Oh how I wish I still had them, a 1963 Gretsch Be-Bop set. I bought them in Chicago at Drums Unlimited on Wabash Avenue, Bill Crowden’s place. Barrett Deems was “working” there and picked out the drums and A. Zildjian cymbals for me. A full set of drums, cymbals, drum throne and fiber cases for $550 cash. I put them in the car, went straight to the gig and played them that night. You like baseball, huh?

From: short2third
06/05/2007 22:12:17
I need help choosing a NEW Jazz Drum Set as I'm not in the Big Apple anymore, and can't sit behind a Trap Set up here.
Looking for all the quality, like shells, sound (for Jazz not heavy Rock), hardware, heads, etc.. One B.D. is enough for me, so what suggestions can you make, and why?
Jazz is what I'll continue playing and teaching, so please consider that even a seasoned Retired Pro. wants to be an educated consumer! Hope to hear from many people, and until later ~ Later!

05/30/2007 00:27:15
Welcome to the community - Hope you like it here!

From: short2third
05/29/2007 23:38:52
I am Retired Principal Percussionist 32 years with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
Don't be fooled by my background in Opera, Boston Pops/Symphony and other Classical Genres, as my first Love is " Jazz " Drumming.. I graduated New England Conservatory of Music in the early 1960s and while playing Traps with Ice Capades, I was asked about my background in Classical Music, at which time I was asked at the age of 22 if I'd like to audition for a vacancy in the Met. Orchestra, and as a 22 year old would do, I said yes, auditioned against a very huge competitive group of very qualified Drummers/Percussionists/Tympanists, and got the Gig. That was in 1964 and I stayed at this great Gig until 1996 when I had to retire because I came down with Macular Degeneration, an eye disease that causes bleeding in the Retina, and the one thing about playing heavy Music is that it's tough to do if you can no longer see and read the notes..
Having shared just a little about me with much humility,and having given away my Trapset to a student of mine, I now want to get a new set of Tubs, so I can groove in the Log Home I built in the N.Y.Catskill Mountains, on the top of a Mt. where I now Breed Dogs, play Jazz on my Musser Concert Vibes, still have my chops, and just dig my new life, but also appreciate my long successfull career over 46 years as in virtually all genres of Music..
Please share some of your thoughts with me, Okay?

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