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The best kept secret in music


"DOJO- Find the Way"

From the opening song entitled The Vine, Brian Baggett and DOJO immediately captivated me. With the use of an acoustic guitar and some Methenyesque coloring for the background, the melody created a perfectly painted picture of midwestern charm.

The Vine is an excellent example of an easy-flowing groove that keeps you on your toes, with soulful soloing and comping.

The second song entitled Bad Song is where you'll find DOJO taking you on a mysterious journey. At first Brian Baggett solos beautifully over a lush chord progression, as drummer Luke Stone shines with some awe-inspiring cymbal work. Then DOJO turns the corner with a driving rhythm segment, which paves the way for some exciting exchanges with all three musicians.

With a lead tone that has a hint of overdrive and shimmering chordal stabs, you'll find yourself unable to deny the song's pull. My favorite song on the album is the third song entitled Good Morning. Those two words never sounded so good, powered by the vocal like melody of the main theme. Even though no words are spoken, you can actually hear good morning vocalized by the guitar, with a stroke of melodic genius.

DOJO has a unique way of staying away from the predictable. By focusing on the song's inherent platform for heavy exploration, DOJO doesn't rely on cliched riffs and soloing. Brian Baggett gives you doses of Cream-Era Clapton intensity and then ups the ante by displaying lethal legato lines. The song ends with a masterful bass solo by Brad Maestas that shows his ability create tasteful tone and touch.

The playful beginning of Lunch Time is a nice balance to the scorching come-hither offering that's to come. The rhythm section fills in all the right places with a powerful performance. The listener is treated to Brian's sax-like lines that could go on for days coupled with an unbelievable emotional depth that's usually reserved for guitarist twice Brian's age!!!

Number 5 and Fun in Harmony finds the band dedicating itself to building deep churning grooves, that will cause many to play them on repeat mode. This template gives the songs texture, which rewards you with a different perspective every time you listen to them.

Perhaps the most thought provoking song is the last one entitled Improvisation 1. If you are looking for proof that Brian Baggett is a guitarist to remember, you can find it here. The song is just Brian alone with an acoustic guitar. A man alone with a piece of wood and some steel, that can take something so simple and deliver an intimate conversation, is something to behold. Improvisation 1, touches on American music at it's best. With its folk-blues leanings offering visions of life at it's most precious moments, is enough of a reason to purchase this CD.

Music that is visual, emotional, and spiritual, can lead us to places never imagined. DOJO-Place of the Way is just that type of music. It will stay with you long after the music has ended.


"Guitars galore"

What is it about Kansas City and guitar players? From the tap roots of Eddie Durham, Efferage Ware, Jim "Big Daddy" Walker, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Floyd Smith, Leonard "Lucky" Enois, and Sonny Kenner, to Norman Brown, Steve Cardenas and Pat Metheny, the musical fertility of this city has produced an abundant yield of guitarists. Is it something in the water? Some mixture of blues and swing in the topsoil? Whatever the reason, it's a crop that shows no sign of withering on the vine any time soon.

Here are some current pickings from the garden.

Though his name may be new to some, Brian Baggett's recent
collaborations with bassist Bill McKemy, and his previous work with the Embius Trio, have people checking him out.

Originally from Topeka, Baggett gained his first experience in an improvisational rock band called Einstein Electric, which he formed while still in high school. As his interest in jazz grew, a natural progression from the music with which he was involved, he enrolled in Washburn University, played in the top jazz combo, and studied theory and improvisation with Chuck Tumlinson.

Before long, Baggett was practicing eight hours a day, seeking out veteran players like Rod Fleeman and Danny Embrey for lessons, and trying to find his voice, or "the soup," as he calls it.

"How many ingredients do you have in your soup? Just one? Or is it a dash of Scofield, a pinch of Martino, a sprinkling of Metheny, a taste of Wayne Shorter, and a hint of African music?"

His prime ingredient right now is Charlie Parker.

"I want to play saxophone on guitar. Alto sax is my favorite instrument."
He also admires Pat Martino, "for his touch and picking technique," and Jim Hall. "When you listen to Jim, it's like time slows down. It has taught me to be more thoughtful."

A dedicated individual who is still learning, Baggett approaches his playing with a deep sense of spirituality. As he puts it, "I am blessed to be musician."

Brian Baggett can be heard on Bill McKemy's current CD, Duende.
- JAM Magazine

"Brian Baggett Spotlight"

Brian Baggett
By Mike Varney | March 2006

Guitarist: Brian Baggett

Age: 29

Style: Fusion rock

Influences: Eddie Van Halen, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Alan Holdsworth, Shawn Lane

Main Guitar: Modified wooden Steinberger

Location: Lawrence, KS

Background: Baggett started playing guitar at age 14, and later studied jazz improvisation and music theory at Washburn University and the University of Kansas. Bagget began teaching ten years ago, providing private instruction to local players, as well as being a guest artist and clinician at Washburn and Truman State Universities, and recently giving jazz improvisation workshops at the Americana Music Academy. Currently a member of the progressive fusion group Dojo, Baggett’s incredible guitar playing falls somewhere between Holdsworth and Alex Lifeson, yet with a sound of its own. Baggett’s recording of a live Dojo concert reveals his keen ability to solo over sophisticated changes employing both melody and flash.


- Guitar Player, March 2006


DOJO Place of the Way, DOJO Live at the Jazzhaus


Feeling a bit camera shy


DOJO is a place for three gifted musicians to play at the top of their game. The group holds nothing back and goes for it all the time...every time. The groups compositions feature a complex harmonic structure which is usually then improvised over. DOJO does not do your typical one chord or two chord jamband thing but instead conquers complex chord progressions with blazing improvisations. Watching these musicians play is a true treat for anyone. DOJO was founded by Kansas City jazz guitarist Brian Baggett. Brian wanted an outlet for his original compostions and a new legato guitar style he was developing ala Allan Holdsworth. The result is a loud yet sophisticated sound that appeals to many yet defies category. The spiritual side of DOJO takes the group into growing as people, improvisors and members of a bigger picture through music. the meaning of the word dojo is the place of the way. The way of life and spirit.