Hot House Highlights The Baylor Project & Mark Whitfield

January 28, 2017Reviews

by Stephanie Johnson, Hot House

THE BAYLOR PROJECT: BLUE NOTE / FEBRUARY 13

With roots deep as their faith is strong, spouses Jean and Marcus Baylor are embarking on a musical exploration together. Their debut release as The Baylor Project, The Journey (Be A Light, 2017), marks the culmination of an extended partnership between uniquely expressive artists. The singer/drummer duo—both of whom compose and arrange on the release featuring Keyon Harrold and Dezron Douglas, among other collaborators—flourished in the church as children of pastors. Associations with Kenny Garrett, Cassandra Wilson and The Yellowjackets have allowed the Baylors to stretch their sound and shape their vision, but their profound mutual admiration truly informs the authenticity of their music. Their performance features Shedrick Mitchell, Yasushi Nakamuria, Keith Loftis, Freddie Hendrix and Stephanie Fisher.

 

by George Kanzler, Hot House

MARK WHITFIELD: THE DJANGO / FEBRUARY 17-18

Guitarist Mark Whitfield was one of the Young Lions who revitalized the mainstream-modern  jazz scene in the last decades of the 20th Century. Since then he has released 11 albums and appeared with a who’s who of jazz heavyweights. Currently he tours with the trumpeter-singer Chris Botti. Now Mark, who is 50, has realized a lifelong dream, assembling a Whitfield Family Band with his sons, drummer Mark Jr. and pianist and keyboardist Davis, who are, like Mark was when he emerged on the scene, also in their 20’s. Their new album, with Yasushi Nakamura on bass, Grace (Marksman Productions), is spotlighted at this CD release weekend. The quartet appears on Feb. 17 and is joined by Sy Smith, who sings on the CD’s title song, on Feb. 18.

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