Jean and Marcus Baylor
Photo: Deneka Peniston
The Baylor Project's Musical Journey To 2018 GRAMMY Nominees
The intersection of two musical styles can be much like the intersection of two people: the best times are when it just happens naturally.
The Baylor Project was successful on both accounts.
With their debut album as The Baylor Project, The Journey, the married couple Marcus and Jean Baylor prove that love and collaboration have endless opportunities in both life and music. The resulting album drew upon their collective background in gospel, jazz, R&B, blues and soul on its way to two GRAMMY nominations: one for Best Jazz Vocal Album and another for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Laugh And Move On."
Prior to joining forces in the studio, Jean and Marcus were each already accomplished musicians in their own right. A jazz vocalist by trade, Jean has worked as a bandleader, composer, arranger, and producer in addition to lending her vocal talents to the likes of Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller, and Buster Williams.
Marcus is known by many as the former drummer of GRAMMY-winning jazz quartet, Yellowjackets, although he's also worn many hats in the studio and on stage, performing and recording with such artists as Cassandra Wilson and John Scofield, and more.
The Baylor Project's resulting collaboration is built on their shared roots in the church. Both Marcus and Jean were the children of pastors, providing a springboard for the dashes of various genres they'd tap into on The Journey. Jean's inventive, spontaneous, and soulful sense of melody soars over Marcus' deep groove, creativity, and natural feel behind the kit.
The eclectic sound of the album is reflected by the GRAMMY nominations it has garnered in two different genre categories: Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Traditional R&B Performance. The big news of these nominations came as quite the shock to Jean and Marcus, as they were in different cities when the announcement hit.
"Got a call first thing in the morning about 9 o'clock," says Jean Baylor, "I was like 'oh my gosh, we got two?' We're doing cartwheels, screaming… and then Marcus calls on the other line, because we were in two separate cities. He's never at a loss of words, you've got to understand my husband, and he's like, '[silent pause]… oh man!'"
As the Baylors look ahead to Music's Biggest Night with anticipation, they also revealed what they'd be wearing for the big night in New York. For Marcus, a classic tuxedo. And for Jean? She promised "bedazzled long-johns" that will be "the latest fashion rage."
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, 2018, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.