Joel Baer is an active performing and recording drummer in the Chicago area. Joel gained an interest in drums at an early age after watching his father Jeff play at church on a weekly basis. At the age of 11, he began formal instruction from drum educator Jack Brand in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois. Under Brand’s guidance, Joel developed his love for Jazz. This led to a B.M. in Jazz Studies from Elmhurst College and M.M. from DePaul University where he studied with Bob Rummage and Dana Hall.
Joel co-leads the Blueshift Big Band in Chicago with guitarist Chris Parsons. With that ensemble, they’ve explored music in the tradition of Count Basie and Duke Ellington, as well as diverse influences like Chicago Blues and music from video games. Their first album of original arrangements was released on Nov. 6th, 2020.
Joel also leads a variety of small groups in Chicago and has released two albums: Structures, released in 2017 features originals and arrangements by Joel. Transit in 2019 featured Joel, as well as pianist Ben Bergmark and bassist Aaron Whittier in a classic piano trio format exploring original compositions by the group.