Heavily influenced by the sound of Stax, Grant Green, and the early Gary Burton era of fusion jazz, Joe Baer Magnant has contrived a unique yet recognizable sound that is just as at home in soul music as jazz, blues, and folk. His introduction to music began in a small town in southern Vermont, fueled by his older brother's record collection and the recommendations of the only record shop in the area which exposed him to the sounds of Stax, Blue Note, Prestige, and ECM. These records, coupled with his interest in a child-sized guitar left behind in his family’s apartment at the age of five, resulted in a love for improvisation and composition.
With the guidance of his high school music teachers, his passion for music led him to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Balancing a day job, school, and his professional musical affairs, he played in various groups when possible, although found that solo projects allowed for more freedom. These two sides of performance led him to explore the stages of Boston, which at the time featured everything from jazz to folk, punk, rock, and experimental music. In 2009, he moved to Cape Cod where he cut his teeth playing gigs five nights a week and taught at The Cape Conservatory before establishing his sound in the San Francisco Bay Area where he honed in on his gritty approach to playing and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in soul music.
Recording for various labels across the country, within several years he accumulated credits on over twenty releases with The M-Tet, a classic instrumental soul organ combo which quickly became one of Northern California’s go-to acts. Within a few years, The M-Tet was sharing the bill with legends such as Lee Fields & The Expressions, The Delfonics and Daptone’s Sugarman 3, as well as contemporaries including Monophonics, Kelly Finnigan, and Ben Pirani. Playing nearly every club, concert hall, and theater in the Nothern California, the group became a west coast staple, leading to a nomination for Best Of The Bay by The East Bay Express. Although prolific and relevant in its own right, the M-Tet also backs various singers including Colemine Records recording artist, Gene Washington.
In jazz, his quartet and trio have explored new possibilities in the genre, combining elements of folk, world music, and soul. After four albums, he bridged the gap between his own projects and the influences of The M-Tet with a new group, Joe Baer Magnant & The Ready. It's debut release is planned for release in 2019 on Funk Night Records out of Detroit. The seven-piece ensemble explores a horn section and a rotating lineup featuring members of The Humidors, Con Brio, Secret Sidewalk, and Jazz Mafia.
In addition to performing, Magnant has been an active instructor. For over a decade he has taught and trained hundreds of students, some of whom have been accepted at the most prestigious contemporary music schools in the world, including The Hartt School of Music, Berklee College of Music, and The New School. In 2016 he published his method book, The Guitarist’s Palette and in 2019 he returned to Massachusetts and the faculty at the Cape Conservatory where he currently teaches. He still performs with The M-Tet and various groups in addition to producing, songwriting, and composing.