Robin Tolleson, Modern Drummer

A former Yellowjacket and his creative/life partner drop a funky and finely detailed collection that isn’t shy to show a little tenderness or to head down lots of creative avenues.

As the album-opening “Block Party” heats up into a joyous gospel jump, Marcus Baylor romps all around the handclaps, then solos over the out-vamp, multiplying and subdividing the beat while never losing focus. The versatile drummer also shines while energizing the well-traveled “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” channeling Elvin Jones on “Afro Blue,” and ad-libbing on the free-form “Journey.” But even on vocal tunes like a jazz-flavored take on “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” a super-chill “Summertime,” or Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me a Story,” with lyrics by Marcus’s wife, singer Jean Baylor, the drummer urges a more quiet, equally effective intensity from his kit, picking his spots gracefully and taking full musical advantage.

(Be a Light)

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