In the four years since we spotlighted Mike Baggetta he has been a busy man. He has relocated from New York City to Knoxville, Tennessee; played on David Torn’s Sun of Goldfinger record; gigged with Nels Cline playing lap steel (Cline on steel, not Baggetta), and released Wall of Flowers [Big Ego Records]. The last features a true supergroup power trio, ala a modern day Cream, as Baggetta, Mike Watt, and session legend, Jim Keltner join forces. Knoxville being relatively close to Nashville, Baggetta has been playing here quite a bit and took time before a gig at Rudy’s Jazz Club to come over and talk about Wall of Flowers and the joys of looping with a TimeFactor.
The new releases are coming thick and fast these days. In addition to recordings featuring veterans like Torn, Baggetta, Pirog,and Cline, there are terrific projects from numerous countries by a batch of names new to me.
On my first trip back to New York in two years, I lucked out in the modern guitar department. First I was able to meet with Ralph Gibson the fabulous photographer/musician at his studio for a wide-ranging discussion of photography, music, and life. Then, a random Facebook post revealed that Mike Baggetta was playing in Brooklyn with Jerome Harris, Billy Mintz— and Nels Cline on lap steel!
No Nels but this will give you an idea of the music.
New York guitarist Mike Baggetta has it all, from swinging modern bop chops that flow like John Abercrombie to whammy bar pedal steel licks admittedly influenced by his first guitar hero, David Torn. In the videos below you will see him go from standard format (drum, bass, sax) groups playing standards, to small orchestras, to a duo doing twisted versions of pop tunes. Through it all Baggetta maintains a level of technical proficiency, tone, creativity, and never faltering musicality that make him one of the most interesting players in a city full of distinctive guitarists.