The Baylor Project: The Evening – Live At Apparatus

Former Yellowjackets drummer and singing wife run an entertaining set of jazz, gospel and R&B accompanied by bass, piano and horns

889

The duo that constitute The Baylor Project have been around for a number of years now, garnering plaudits all along the way with their mixture of jazz, R&B and gospel. They are the husband and wife team of drummer Marcus Baylor (ex Yellowjackets) and singer Jean, once a member of the Motown group Zhane. She is currently on the Manhattan School of Music faculty.

Apparatus is not a jazz club but a design studio whose owner decided on three nights of music to launch his latest collection, plumping for the Baylors to add a musical dimension. If the audience were there for the unveiling they certainly didn’t neglect the music; they are highly responsive to all that’s played and react favourably to the singer urging them to join in on a couple of tunes.

From the Opening Our Love Is Here To Stay to the close of Only Believe, the listener is treated to a highly entertaining, not to say musically satisfying experience which takes in the solo gospel-style piano of Lord Keep Me Day By Day, a beautifully delivered Tenderly where the singer goes her own route, and Call Of The Drum featuring Marcus.

Jean is a vocalist who gives us touches of Aretha Franklin and a smattering of Anita Baker but is very much her own person. She can play the soul diva, take on the role of jazz swinger and throw in a touch of scat. Just in case anybody thought the Baylors lightweight performers, they add their own composition 2020, a social comment of the time which is both dramatic and exciting, enhanced by some seriously passionate work from the horns.

The antidote to follow is the romping, toe-tapping, joyful Happy To Be With You, a treat for the ears where the singer goes for broke and the horns play some crowd-pleasing solos, driven along by some dancing drum work.

Discography
Our Love Is Here To Stay; Lord Keep Me Day By Day; Great Is Thy Faithfulness; Call Of The Drum; Tell Me A Story; Tenderly; We Swing The Cypher’; Love Makes Me Sing; 2020; Happy To Be With You; Only Believe (78.24)
Jean Baylor (v); Marcus Baylor (d); Terry Brewer (p, kyb); Yasushi Nakamura (b); Keith Loftis (ts, ss); Mark Williams (tb); Darren Barrett (t). New York, 12-14 May 2022.
Be Alight BAL003