Jim Baker studied piano with Thomas Scott and composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana with Morgan Powell and Herbert Brun. Since the 1980s he has been mainstay of the Chicago improvisors scene, noted for his work with Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang. He then played with Fred Anderson, Guillermo Gregorio, Ken Vandermark, Edward Wilkerson, and many others. He made his first recordings in 1995 with the trio Caffeine (consisting of Baker, Ken Vandermark and Steve Hunt). Baker appeared on European jazz festivals, with Vandermark’s Chicago Improvisers at the Moers Festival and with Fred Lonberg-Holm at the Tampere Jazz Happening in Finland. In 1996 he performed at the FMP in a trio with Rüdiger Carl and Stephan Wittwer in the Chicago Festival. In the following years he worked with Steve Beresford, Damon Short, Nicole Mitchell, Dave Rempis and the Exploding Star Orchestra, participating in nearly forty recording sessions.