Drum - Suite - Life

Drum - Suite - Life

Singing' Drums, Percussive Voices
Newman Taylor Baker
Newman Taylor Baker
Catalog Number: 

New York, NY

Release Date: 
Sep 28, 2010
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Baker, Newman Taylor: Drum, Suite, LifeiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Red Brush Blues08:28$0.99
2.Wb 104:06$0.99
3.Thank You, Ms. Jones, Hold On!07:56$0.99
4.Bosom of Abraham07:43$0.99
5.Which Train?07:36$0.99
6.Andrew, Milford, and Rashied05:03$0.99
7.Marchin' David05:28$0.99
One Sheet: 

Drum-Suite-Life is the initial CD of Newman Taylor Baker's project, Singin' Drums; the result of a life-long desire to have the drum set accepted as a solo instrument, and using it to honor the U. S. African culture where the drum set developed. For Baker, the drum set represents the strength, intelligence, creativity, power, endurance, and love of the culture. He writes, "The drum set has a story to tell. We present Singin' Drums in a variety of settings to share our story."

Baker explores forms such as blues, gospel, marching band, dance, and European symphonic music. Drum-Suite-Life follows the U. S. African tradition where music is passed on orally, like the street beats in our marching bands, the spirituals on the plantation, and the rhythms of our dance orchestras. 

The works reference - in drum terms - the buzz of the strings on a rural blues guitar, the vocal qualities of the West African talking drums, unmilitaristic marching bands, Negro spirituals, the era of the Harlem Renaissance, and the creative inspirations of Andrew Cyrille, Milford Graves, and Rashied Ali. "Thank You, Ms. Jones, Hold On" is dedicated to Elayne Jones, a musician who recently retired from the San Francisco Opera, and was the first black woman timpanist in the U.S. classical music world. 

New York based Newman Taylor Baker has performed with Kenny Barron, Billy Bang, Henry Grimes, Billy Harper, Joe Henderson, Abdullah Ibrahim, Ahmad Jamal, Leroy Jenkins, Sam Rivers, Henry Threadgill, McCoy Tyner, and others. At the young age of 67, Baker has found a new music and instrument by joining the Ebony Hillbillies, the only NYC based black string band, and playing washboard: a magical experience. 

Drum-Suite-Life is part of innova's NEA-supported "NYFA Series" celebrating the work of composers who have won the New York Foundation for the Arts Music Composition Fellowships. 


Baker is a most skilled and inventive musician. "Red Brush Blues" is all shushed hush, very delicate, almost ominous and certainly mysterious in its wire-brush swish and patter. "Bosom of Abraham" has a hard military determination and side-drum rolls and taps. "Which Train?" is suggestive of the Harlem renaissance yet with gentle texturing. "Marchin’ David" links the marching band tattoo tradition with a dash of African rhythms. "Handpeace" is very quiet and highly skilled.

- Rob Barnett, Music Web International

Disco d’esordio del percussionista americano Newman Taylor Baker e primo tassello del progetto ‘Singin’ Drums’ dove il nostro mira a far assurgere la batteria a strumento chiave della cultura afroamericana. L’artista, che ha lavorato con i grandi della musica jazz come Kenny Barron, Henry Grimes, Joe Henderson, Sam Rivers, McCoy Tyner, con questo album esplora attraverso l’uso esclusivo delle percussioni le forme espressive più importanti e rilevanti della musica americana. Taylor Baker si destreggia con grazia e brio tra blues, marce, gospel, accompagnamento per orchestra da ballo, usando con maestria la batteria e riuscendo a coinvolgere l’ascoltatore nel ritmo delle composizioni senza cali di interesse o di attenzione. Un piacevole viaggio a suon di ritmo da rinnovare ogni volta che se ne presenti l’occasione.

- Marco Paolucci, Kathodik