One of the hottest young talents working in Las Vegas today, Ryan Baker has also been appearing all over North America in varying roles, and in several different types of venues. Originally from Long Island, NY, Ryan moved to Vegas in October 2003, where he began performing at weddings and corporate events at just about every major casino property in town, with performances ranging from Frank Sinatra “sound-alike” to impersonating the man himself.
Besides tribute artist/impersonator work, Ryan is also an accomplished jazz singer, with a repertoire of hundreds of songs, ranging from Sinatra favorites to jazz classics to standards written by the great American songwriters of the 20th century. He performed regularly at Joey Bistro in 2004, and later did a three-month engagement at the Artisan Hotel & Spa.
In 2005, Baker helped to create and became one of the stars of the original tribute show “Shades of Sinatra”, with the help of Kelly Clinton, at the Stirling Club lounge in the Turnberry Estates in Vegas. In July 2007, the show debuted at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino, to sold-out crowds and widespread press acclaim, and since then it has received the Entertainment Consumers’ Exchange “Tribute Show of the Year” award in both 2007 and 2012. In October 2007, the “Shades” had the privilege of opening for the one and only Don Rickles at the Golden Nugget casino, a privilege they had again in June 2010, this time at the Orleans Hotel & Casino.
In 2008, Ryan joined the cast of “Drinkin’, Singin’, Swingin’,” playing the role of Frank Sinatra in a salute to the legendary Rat Pack, touring in the US and Canada and produced by Rick Michel who also plays Dean Martin in the show. Later that year, Ryan portrayed the Chairman of the Board in David Cassidy’s production show, “The Rat Pack Is Back!” at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino, to rave reviews.
Since January of 2010, Baker has been an understudy for the Frank, Dean, and Joey roles in “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show”, both in and out of Las Vegas. He has also performed in Beyer Productions’ “Rat Pack Fridays,” also in Vegas.
In 2012, Ryan was asked to be the featured performer at the Opening Session of the Midwinter Meetings of the Chicago Dental Society, performing an original Sinatra vocal tribute act with a legendary quartet of musicians from Las Vegas, who had all played with Sinatra himself.
Additionally, Ryan has recorded dozens of different radio commercial jingles, mostly for sponsors of Clear Channel Communications affiliates, which currently play all over the country in markets from Los Angeles, CA to Charleston, SC.
Baker’s latest project is an album called Timeless Again, featuring his own takes on some of his favorite jazz standards. With arrangements written by gifted guitarist Joe Lano, the album was recorded and mixed by veteran engineer Ron George at the UNLV Recording Studio. The mastering was done by Gil Kaupp.
The songs each feature, in slightly different configurations, a small group of world-class musicians. Lano, a gifted guitar player and mainstay of Las Vegas showrooms for over 40 years, has worked with countless legendary names, including being personal accompanist to Lena Horne. Bassist Jeff Davis has worked with such artists as Joe Williams, Marlena Shaw, and Pete Christlieb, while drummer Jess Gopen has played with the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Michael McDonald, and is currently touring with Clint Holmes. Davis and Gopen, together with Lano, have been working together as one of the most sought-after jazz trios in Las Vegas for years, so they were already quite comfortable and familiar with each other’s playing. Pianist Dave Loeb, who serves as Director of Jazz Studies at UNLV and was conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for over ten years, is also the pianist and arranger for the television series Family Guy, the latest in a list of too many other television and music credits to name. Trumpeter Rocky Lombardo, also featured on the flugelhorn, has been playing in bands for over 40 years, including with Frank Sinatra and Nancy Wilson. Saxophonist Eric Tewalt, who has worked in bands for such shows as Jersey Boys and artists such as Celine Dion, appears on five tracks, playing four different instruments: alto, tenor, soprano, and flute.
While still considered a young entertainer, it is clear that Ryan Baker has an “old soul” and a deep appreciation for the wonderful music created by legendary entertainers well before he was born. Whether it be with just a piano player, a small- or large-piece band, or background tracks, Ryan has the versatility and range to work in any musical environment. When you see him perform or hear his recordings, you can hear him bring to life the timeless sounds of a bygone era in music.