Master Percussionist, Composer, Vocalist and Educator, Newman Taylor Baker is originally from Petersburg, VA born to a family of scholars. His paternal grandfather was the only former slave to receive a PH.D from Yale University.
At 2 years old, Newman received his first drum on Christmas Day and never looked back. Newman grew up on the campus of Virginia State College where his parents taught and was mentored by the percussion staff on campus and visiting.
His passion for the drum and washboard would take him all around the world sharing his knowledge, experience, and innovation through his solo drumset project, Singin' Drums and washboard explorations with THE EBONY HILLBILLIES and beyond - with his Washboard XT project.
He is truly a master of the drums working internationally with truly the best of the best - a diverse array of jazz masters including Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Henry Grimes, Kenny Barron, Henry Threadgill, Billy Bang, Leroy Jenkins, Diedre Murray, Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson, Kevin Eubanks, Billy Harper, Sam Rivers, Charlie Rouse, and so many more....
Newman even shared the stage with the Richmond Symphony led by legendary guest Composer Aaron Copland and collaborations with critically acclaimed choreographer's Mickey Davidson and JoAnn Tucker. He has led master classes through such organizations as Jazzmobile, Young Audiences and Arts Horizons, and served as faculty at Rutgers University-Newark, Widener College, Livingstone College and Shaw University.
Newman was also awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and grants from Meet The Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is truly a drummer's drummer - and a washboard innovator.
When asked to sub onto an EH gig in NYC, Newman brought his washboard, which had belonged to the daughter of the great jazz drummer, Art Blakey. Using empty 12-gauge shotgun shells, he started playing with no rehearsal.
Newman quoted, "The ancestors were coming through me, and I watched my hands do things they had never done before. Everyone really liked what I was doing and said they'd never heard WASHBOARD played that way. I found that if I got out of the way and trusted - the music happened. It was very different from the drumset, where I had spent years of practicing, training my hands and mind." THE EBONY HILLBILLIES' resident washboardist is truly a rhythm master in every sense of the word!