Saturday, January 22, 2022

JAZZ NEWS: NAACP Image Award Nomination for The Baylor Project’s ‘Generations’

The Baylor Project’s Generations is Nominated for Outstanding Jazz Album – Vocal at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards

The 53rd Annual NAACP Image Awards will take place on February 26 at 8pm EST on BET

The news broke this past Tuesday, January 18. Jean and Marcus Baylor are nominated alongside Jazzmeia Horn, Ledisi, Freda Payne and Rubén Blades y Roberto Delgado & Orquesta. The 53rd Annual NAACP Image Awards will take place on February 26 at 8pm EST on BET.

On Tuesday, January 18, it was announced that the remarkable vocal-drumming duo The Baylor Project received an NAACP Image Awards nomination for Generations, their sophomore album release. Generations is nominated for the 53rd NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Jazz Album – Vocal category. Released on June 18, 2021 on the eve of Juneteenth during Black Music Month, Generations celebrates the Black experience, its nuances and layers, and the universality of the human condition. This marks The Baylor Project’s first NAACP Image Award nomination. 

“We are ecstatic to have been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for our album, Generations!  It is truly an honor to stand with so many great artists in a space that was created to advance African-Americans in every area of life,” The Baylors shared. “The NAACP’s cultural, educational, social and political efforts changed the landscape of American life for black people and we are proud to be a part of its rich legacy.”

The Baylor Project features vocalist Jean Baylor and drummer Marcus Baylor, who present nine original compositions and two covers on Generations. The record, released in June, celebrates the Black experience, its nuances and layers, and the universality of the human condition. While the majority of Generations was recorded prior to 2020, the coronavirus pandemic kept the project from reaching completion until 2021. The record features an overabundance of first-call collaborators including special guests Kenny Garrett, Dianne Reeves, Jazzmeia Horn, Jamison Ross, and Sullivan Fortner.

Musically, Generations pulls from married musical partners Marcus’ and Jean’s varied backgrounds rooted in the church, and steeped in soul, jazz, gospel and blues. Storytelling has always been central to The Baylor Project’s creative output, and they have shown a particular adeptness at making their personal stories universally felt. They accomplish this and then some on Generations, which presents as a soulful sonic story quilt released via their own independent record label, Be A Light. 
Photos by Deneka Peniston

Announced in November 2021, Generations is also GRAMMY® nominated in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category at this year’s 64th GRAMMY® Awards taking place in Las Vegas on April 3, 2022. This marks The Baylor Project’s fourth GRAMMY® nomination, following a 2020 nod to the single “Sit On Down” in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category and two 2017 nominations from their debut recording, The Journey, in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category and Best Traditional R&B Performance for the single “Laugh And Move On.” A critical and commercial success, The Journey debuted at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart and #8 on the Billboard Jazz Chart upon release. Since its release in June, Generations collected parallel praise from top tier media outlets worldwide, including NPR, WBGO, Glide Magazine, a 4-star mark from Jazzwise and an 11-week run in the Top 5 of JazzWeek’s radio chart.

The Baylor Project is made up of two music industry veterans. Before forming The Baylor Project in 2013, Jean Baylor burst onto the scene in the mid-1990’s as part of the groundbreaking R&B duo Zhané. Marcus Baylor first rose to prominence in the early 2000’s as the drummer for the world-renowned, GRAMMY® Award winning fusion group The Yellowjackets. Both Marcus and Jean have performed and toured with various jazz legends, ranging from Kenny Garrett and John Scofield to Marcus Miller and Harold Mabern. 

Joining Jean and Marcus Baylor in the Outstanding Jazz Album Vocal category at the NAACP Awards is Dear Love by Jazzmeia Horn, Ledisi Sings Nina by Ledisi, Let There Be Love by Freda Payne and Salswing! by Rubén Blades y Roberto Delgado & Orquesta. The 53rd NAACP Image Awards will take place on Saturday, February 26th and air live on BET at 8pm. 

Voting is now open to the public in select categories to determine the winners of the 53rd NAACP IMAGE AWARDS by visiting – Winners will be revealed during the 53rd NAACP Image Awards telecast. For all information and the latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at or on Facebook at naacpimageawards and Twitter @naacpimageaward (#NAACPImageAwards).

About NAACP:
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas at

About BET Networks:
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant AfricanAmerican consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions:, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

OUT SATURDAY 4x GRAMMY® Winning Pianist Oscar Hernández's VISIÓN (Ovation Records)

4x GRAMMY® Winning Pianist and Composer Oscar Hernández to Release New Album Visión with Alma Libre on January 22, 2022 via Ovation Records

Multi-GRAMMY® Winning pianist, composer and bandleader Oscar Hernández is proud to announce the January 22, 2022 release of his new album Visión. Supported by his long-standing quintet Alma Libre, and augmented by special guests Joe Locke, Aaron Janik and Luisito Quintero, Hernández’s third release as a leader is a powerful document that reaffirms his standing as one of the most important voices in Latin music. This is the second release for Ovation Records, a new record label founded by Hernández in 2020. 

Visión is a seminal work for the decorated artist, who described the experience of preparing and recording the project as an important creative outlet during the shutdown. “The creative process was in full force during that time,” reflects Hernández. “Recording this album was a way to react positively, and to counteract the negative circumstances surrounding the pandemic.” And so, the prolific composer added ten new compositions to his already expansive and wide-ranging repertoire. In May of this year, he and Alma Libre – his Los Angeles-based ensemble featuring the legendary saxophonist Justo Almario, drummer Jimmy Branly, bassist Oscar Cartaya, and percussionist Christian Moraga – recorded Visión, bringing these brilliant new tunes to life. The title is of significance to Hernández. “When I was young, I was taught by my family that you need to have a vision to accomplish things. I believe that if you see it and you believe it, you can achieve it,” he says. This uplifting title seemed a fitting response to the tenuous situation at the time the album was conceived.
Hernández is perhaps best known to modern-day audiences as the leader and producer of the highly acclaimed Spanish Harlem Orchestra. With Hernández at the helm, the 13-piece all-star salsa big band has gone on to win 3 GRAMMY® Awards, and release eight critically acclaimed albums, including 2018 GRAMMY® winner Anniversary. In 2020, Spanish Harlem Orchestra released The Latin Jazz Project, their first-ever all-Latin jazz release. Referred to as an “opus that dazzles” by Jazzwise Magazine, The Latin Jazz Project allowed Hernández to musically stretch and display his considerable chops. Visión continues in that tradition while showcasing Hernández outstanding musical facility in a more intimate setting. 

Oscar Hernández’s storied career dates back to the 1970’s when he began performing and recording with original salsa legends such as Ismael Miranda, Celia Cruz, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, Conjunto Libre, Grupo Folkorico and Ray Barreto. He then went on to join Ruben Blades’ Seis Del Solar band and eventually became his Musical Director, charting the musical course for the salsa legend. Hernández soon became the Musical Director for Paul Simon as well as the orchestrator and arranger for Gloria Estefan. Hernández first recorded with Alma Libre in 2016, marked by the release of their debut The Art of Latin Jazz (Origin). In 2019, they released a sophomore effort Love The Moment (Origin). The album received worldwide acclaim, including a four star review from Downbeat Magazine that praised the “ensemble’s genius” and it was described as “harmonically sophisticated and rhythmically compelling” by The New York City Jazz Record. With Visión, Hernandez is in his element as he continues this tradition and showcases, once again, Latin jazz music of the highest caliber.

Ritmo Pa’ Ti
Doña Provi 
Chick Forever
Make The Move
Tributo al Son
Don’t Stop Now
So Believe It
Virtually Here

Oscar Hrnández - piano
Justo Almario - sax / flute
Jimmy Branly - drums
Oskar Cartaya - bass
Christian Moraga - congas / percussion

Special Guests:

Aaron Janik - trumpet
Joe Locke - vibraphone
Luisito Quintero - timbales / congas / bongod

Luke Stewart's Silt Trio - The Bottom (January 22, 2022 Cuneiform Records)

Called “one of the 25 most influential jazz artists of his generation” by DownBeat Magazine and a member of several earth-shaking ensembles, including Irreversible Entanglements and Heroes Are Gang Leaders, polymathic bassist Luke Stewart, a creative catalyst on the Washington D.C. (and beyond) music scene for almost two decades, introduces his protean trio with Chicago drum legend Chad Taylor and powerhouse DC saxophonist Brian Settles.

A casual observer of the Washington D.C. music scene could easily get the mistaken impression that there are four or five guys coincidentally named Luke Stewart playing leading roles in a disparate array of musical communities. In fact, Stewart is a singular, uncontainable artist whose work as a bassist, saxophonist, producer, broadcaster, and all-around mover and shaker has deepened and extended the District’s legacy as a hotbed for creative music.

Given his many pursuits, a single album can only capture a small portion of Stewart’s oceanic sonic continuum, but The Bottom offers a deep dive into a particularly inviting pool with his loose and limber trio making their debut here.

A highly cohesive triumvirate in close communion, the band plays with the conversational ease of longtime, comfortable friends. Untethered to any particular stylistic convention, particularly bebop’s head-solo-head format, the music’s ebb and flow feels utterly in the moment.

“I approached the recording session as closely as possible to playing a set, arranging the sequence with that in mind,” says Stewart, who was born and raised in Mississippi. “Like a set compositions are coupled by moments of free improvisation, but that free improv is contextualized by what happened before and after. It’s a journey, and the recording session reflects that.” 

1. Reminiscince
2. Roots
3. Angles
4. The Bottom
5. Circles
6. Dream House

Luke Stewart – Bass
Brian Settles – Tenor Sax
Chad Taylor – Drums, Mbira