Marcus Baylor – Born to Drum

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There are very few drummers who can play their instruments, as good as Marcus Baylor. Born in St. Louis, Baylor started drumming when he was only two years old. That means he has been around drums all his life, creating good music that has shaped the entertainment industry. He would watch his cousin play every Sunday morning, which drove him into liking music. 

The toddler Baylor would take the set and mimic what he had seen and heard. And when he reached home, he would hit on anything on his way, including pans, pots, and even the living room furniture. Soon, his family realized he had a gift, and they would help him develop it at his father’s church. Marcus Baylor would play at tent revivals, concerts, and any other service for the church. 

marcus baylor
marcus baylor

He acknowledges that playing at the church was the best thing as it allowed him to practice whenever he wanted. It was an excellent platform for his development. When he reached high school, Baylor was introduced to another interesting style, jazz. He played a Yellowjackets record in his hearing. 

He says there were similarities in style, but he was more familiar with the gospel world. However, this piece sparked something in him, especially when he saw a jazz performance for the first time. It was something new to him, which became a challenge as he wanted to get a new sound. After a while, he gave in to the urge to learn from his predecessors.  Discovery of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. Thelonious Mark and Miles Davis, among other jazz drummers, created love in him for the jazz world.  

He found a spot in the school jazz band, with which he won the Southern Illinois University high school band competition. He also made an All-District Jazz Band, a move that would expand his love for jazz even more. Marcus Baylor received a four-year scholarship at Manner School of Music in New York after his high school. It was the first and the best chance for him to study music seriously. 

He was lucky to learn under the influence of some of the greatest names in history, including Lewis Nash, Chico Hamilton, Michael Carvin, and Buster William. New York City offered a perfect environment for jazz music. He would listen to great musicians and learn everything he needed from them. It became a significant turning point in his career, allowing him to record for the first time with Cassandra Wilson on “Travelin’ Miles.”

marcus baylor performing
marcus baylor performing

Baylor also went on to work with Kenny Garret. For him, this was a dream come true, a chance to explore the best side of jazz music. He learned and gained a great understanding of the history of rhythm, phrasing, and sound in music. He was exposed to other great artists to learn everything he needed to.

He played with Yellowjackets from 2000, one of the longest and most popular jazz bands around.  He recorded his first album “Mint Jam” with the group and exited in 2010 to pursue his music career. Marcus Baylor now drums for Free Day.

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