Better known for the highly regarded jazz guitars that he makes in his New York City workshop, luthier Victor Baker is also an accomplished guitarist, very prolific modern jazz composer and active performer. A self described life long jazz guitar nut, when he isn’t building an instrument he is writing, preparing and playing his original music. His long overdue debut disc is his first official effort at finally documenting the playing side of his career. Stylistically his music is creative modern jazz, and features interesting complex meters and feels but always written as a framework for strong melody, vibe and catchy themes. Vic’s playing is fiery at times but he is not a gunslinger player, and prefers to play melodically with strong phrasing and connected lines to better serve the music. The tracks on “Up” document Victor’s current band in New York, a fairly recent collaboration of fine players who already have a cohesive sound and energy together. The vibe ranges from driving and intense to very subtle and sublime, with strong performances by all. Already a fine showing, this group’s freshman effort peeks and hints at some very exciting things to come.