Michael Zerang and Jim Baker, longtime Chicago experimentalists, are celebrating their 35th year of making music together with a Tuesday night residency series at the Hideout this November 2017.
Each night, Zerang and Baker will perform their duo for the first set, consisting of music for percussion and electronics. For the second set, they have invited various Chicago experimentalists to join them.
Michael Zerang was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He has been a professional musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.
As a percussionist, composer and collaborator, Zerang has over one hundred titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally to 35 countries since 1981, and works with and ever-widening pool of collaborators, primarily in The United States, Western and Eastern Europe.
Beginning in 2004, Zerang began to work with musicians and artists living in the Middle East. He traveled to perform, hold workshops, and study, to Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Morocco.
In November, 2007, Zerang played his first concert in Poland. Between 2007 - 2015, he had performed over 100 concerts. Several of these concerts where from existing ensembles that visited Poland, but the majority of the concert were in collaboration with Polish musicians and artists.
Michael founded and was the artistic director of the Link's Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985-1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. He was a Board Member of Links Hall from 1989 - 2013. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 - 2005.
Zerang has collaborated extensively with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards for Original Music Composition in Theater, in collaboration with Redmoon Theater, in 1996, 1998, and 2000.
Michael has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique, sound design, and sound/music as it relates to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center; courses in Composer/Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University; music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House.
Michael currently tours and holds workshops in improvisational music and percussion technique, and teaches private lessons in rhythmic analysis, music composition, and percussion technique.
Jim Baker is an eccentric and deep-thinking musician who has jammed with some of the best in the world, from Chicago flautist and bandleader Nicole Mitchell to Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, of Massachusetts. His talent and humor shines in his solo Delmark CD, More Questions Than Answers, which is the perfect album to let play on repeat for auditory relaxation or intense retrospection — depending on your mood. If you’ve not seen and heard Baker labor like a scientist or switchboard operator over the complex assemblage of cables, pedals and knobs that he uses to control his ARP synthesizer, then you’ve not experienced the best Old School electronic music that gets played in Chicago. - Chicago Jazz Festival, 2012