The music world mourns the unexpected passing of Wayne Baird, a multifaceted record producer, music engineer, and songwriter, on December 26, 2023. His sudden departure has left the music community reeling in grief, reminiscing about the influential legacy he leaves behind.
The unfortunate passing of Wayne Baird, a distinguished member of the Original Timaru Folk Club and the Union Blues Soul Band, occurred on December 26, 2023. John Dix conveyed the heartbreaking news, fondly remembering Wayne as a remarkable individual known for his warmth, kindness, and infectious smile.
In a heartfelt statement, Dix expressed, “My dear friend Wayne Baird passed away this afternoon. He was truly one of the good guys, always with a smile, and a kind and generous nature. Condolences to Jane and the rest of the whanau. I will miss you always, Wayne, and remember you with a drink in your hand and a song in your heart.”
Born on June 27, 1951, in Timaru, New Zealand, Wayne Baird hailed from a family deeply rooted in music. Inspired by his parents’ musical involvement, Baird commenced piano lessons at the age of ten under the guidance of Leslie Tairoa, whose mentorship instilled in him a profound appreciation for the art of music creation and sharing.
It’s with a heavy heart that we mark the passing of Wayne Baird, a much-loved member of the music community. To say that Wayne played with just about everyone is an understatement. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. https://t.co/A1MOzITbwC
— AudioCulture (@AudioCultureNZ) December 26, 2023
Further honing his skills under jazz musician Bill Stark, Baird delved into piano improvisation, refining his techniques and phrasing.
Embarking on his musical journey, Baird initially ventured as a hired guitarist, notably with bands like Hillman Hunter & The Roots Group and Hattie (St John) & The Havana Hotshots. His compositions became part of the Hotshots’ album recorded for the Ode label.
Throughout the years, Baird contributed his musical prowess to various bands, including Origins Dance Theatre, Neighbours, Rick Bryant’s Jive Bombers, and collaborations with artists like Willie Hona and Fiona McDonald.
Known for his versatility spanning swing, blues, soul, and country genres, Baird’s mastery as a guitarist earned him a well-deserved reputation as one of New Zealand’s accomplished musicians.
Wayne Baird’s sudden passing has left a void in the music community, marking the end of an era defined by his unparalleled talent and diverse musical contributions. His legacy will endure, resonating within the hearts of those he inspired and collaborated with across various musical landscapes.