The Baylor Project
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The husband-and-wife duo of vocalist Jean Baylor and drummer Marcus Baylor arose from two childhoods steeped in jazz and gospel music.
Their 2017 debut album, “The Journey,” received two Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Traditional R&B Performance; this was followed by two more albums: “Generations” (2021) and the recently released “The Evening: Live at APPARATUS” have both earned Grammy nominations as well, for a total of six.
Jean studied jazz as a vocal performance major at Temple University. Carmen McCrae, Jimmy Scott and Shirley Horn influenced her. She was half of the platinum recording duo, Zhane, and is also a respected composer, arranger, producer and bandleader. Her pure-toned, flexible mezzo-soprano voice has been heard on albums and in performances with The Yellowjackets, Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller, and Buster Williams.
Marcus gained fame as the former drummer of the Grammy Award-winning jazz quartet, The Yellowjackets. While was studying at New York’s New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, he began touring and recording with Cassandra Wilson. He went on to work with Kenny Garrett, John Scofield and other artists. He is also a composer, arranger, producer and bandleader.
Marcus and Jean have the ability to build bridges across generations with their relatability and virtuosity, and with their wide-ranging musical influences.
Singer/songwriter Paulette McWilliams will be opening for The Baylor Project and will also be performing as part of “Celebrating the Women in Jazz.”
McWilliams, originally from Chicago, grew up singing and became one of the most in-demand backup singers in the industry, as well as having a career as a performing and recording artist in her own right.
McWilliams has worked with countless artists on tours and recordings, including Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, The Jacksons, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and as a member of Bette Midler's backing group the Harlettes, among many others.
She has recorded duets with Johnny Mathis, sang a live duet with Sarah Vaughan, and has released several albums, including “A Woman’s Story” (2022) and her latest, “These Are the Sweet Things” (2023).
Berks Arts is a nonprofit organization based in Reading, Pa. whose mission is to Inspire, Engage, and Unite communities through the arts.