Basic Background info
A native of American jazz hotspot St. Louis, Missouri, music spoke to Marcus Baylor from a young age onward. After listening to his cousin play the drums in church every Sunday, Marcus Baylor began making a habit of misappropriating his motherís cookware and living room furniture for drumming practice. Marcus Baylor quickly took over the drum seat at his fatherís church and played every variety of churchm related function.
A friend formally introduced Marcus Baylor to jazz in junior high school with a Yellowjackets record. Marcus Baylor immediately noticed similarities between jazz and gospel music. Marcus Baylor joined the high school jazz band and started listening to Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Art Blakey. Marcus won the Southern Illinois University high school big band competition, and his jazz band won the title of All District Jazz Band.
After graduating from high school, Marcus Baylor went on to earn a bachelor's degree from the Mannes School of Music in New York City on a four year scholarship. Marcus Baylor studied traditional music under Lewis Nash, Chico Hamilton, Michael Carvin, and Buster Williams. Being in New York City also afforded Marcus Baylor opportunities to listen to and play with great jazz musicians. After playing many local gigs, Marcus recorded his first album with Cassandra Wilson. Marcus said, "Playing with Cassandra, I learned to hear and play different textures, or 'colors' as she called it, and explore different dynamics." Marcus toured with Cassandra and was often joined by other artists like George Benson, Dave Holland, Regina Carter, and Olu Dara.
Following his time with Cassandra, Marcus Baylor experienced 'a dream come true' while working with Kenny Garrett. Kenny mentored Marcus Baylor in the history and execution of rhythm, phrasing, and sound rooted within music. While touring with Kenny, Marcus Baylor performed with Chick Corea and Freddie Hubbard.
In 2000, Marcus Baylor joined the Yellowjackets, the very band that first introduced him to his beloved jazz as a young man. The Yellowjackets are one of the longest running contemporary jazz bands playing today. Their sound, while steeped in traditional jazz, flirts with fusion. Marcus Baylor recalled, 'The Yellowjackets allow me the creative space to lend my own personality to the music. It's been a blessing and a dream come true to play with a group that I've listened to for so many years.'
Marcus Baylor has also played with John Scofield, Joshua Redman, Greg Osby, Cyrus Chestnut, Stefon Harris, Junior Mance, Nicholas Payton, Lamont Johnson, and Russell Gunn.
Instruments of choice
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