R.I.P. Crown Height Affair's James "Ajax" Baynard

We are very sad to report to SoulTrackers that noted trumpeter James "Ajax" Baynard has died after a car crash in South Jamaica, New York. Baynard was the one-time trumpeter for disco and funk group Crown Heights Affair and had a long career working with many of the biggest R&B stars.

We are very sad to report to SoulTrackers that noted trumpeter James "Ajax" Baynard has died after a car crash in South Jamaica, New York. Baynard was the one-time trumpeter for disco and funk group Crown Heights Affair and had a long career working with many of the biggest R&B stars.

Crown Heights Affair was formed in New York City in the early 70s, and was originally called Nue Day Express before adopting the name of their district of Brooklyn. The big, brassy sound of the group was created by members Donnie Linton (Bass) ,Philip Thomas (vocals), William Anderson (guitar/vocals), and Raymond Rock (drums/percussion/vocals), alongside Baynard (trumpet/vocals), Stan Johnson (keyboards), Darryl Gibbs (saxophone) and Julius Dilligard Jr. (vocals). The group was initially signed by RCA Records, for whom they recorded a self-titled album in 1974 and enjoyed regional hit singles with "Super Rod" and "Leave The Kids Alone." Baynard left the group around the time that Crown Heights Affair signed with the De-Lite label (known best as the home of Kool and the Gang), and scored a number of dance hits such as "Dreaming A Dream" and "Every Beat of My Heart."

Baynard became a fixture on the local music scene, playing in a number of bands and churches. He was also a noted vocalist and performed in musical stage productions in theaters in the Tri-State area. Perhaps most notably to international music fans, Baynard played trumpet on the hits of many other stars ranging from L.L. Cool J to Jocelyn Brown to The Fatback Band. It is appropriate that at the time of his death he was returning from playing a show. Baynard's death is a sudden and sad event for R&B and dance music fans everywhere. His artistry will be missed. Condolences can be left on Baynard's Facebook page.

 

 

 
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