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John Taylor

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b. 25 September 1942, Manchester, Lancashire, England. A self-taught pianist, Taylor had established himself as one of the most respected British jazz pianists by the end of the 60s and has continued to consolidate his reputation ever since. He began his musical career with a dance band until 1964, when he moved to London, and began playing with other young lions of the time, such as John Surman, Alan Skidmore and Norma Winstone, whom he would later marry. He also worked with established stars such as Marion Montgomery, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. In the late 60s he began to lead his own trio and sextet with Kenny Wheeler, Chris Pyne, Stan Sulzmann, Chris Laurence and Tony Levin. He also played in Sulzmann’s quartet, with Winstone in Edge Of Time and with Mike Gibbs. He was a member of Surman’s outstanding but short-lived Morning Glory with Terje Rypdal. His collaboration with Surman, which produced some of the most inventive and original jazz-based music of the 70s and 80s, has continued to the present. In the mid-70s he spent some time with the Ronnie Scott quintet. In 1977, with Wheeler and Winstone, Taylor formed Azimuth (not to be confused with Azymuth), for which he composed most of the music. At the end of the decade he played with Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen and Miroslav Vitous. He also worked with Lee Konitz, John Warren, Graham Collier, and Harry Beckett during this period. His rich, fluid playing, inspired in part by Bill Evans, is especially distinctive on ballads. Taylor is also an accomplished composer, and credits Gibbs with being a fundamental influence on his writing. In the 90s Taylor continued to work with Azimuth, to play in a regular duo with Winstone and to lead his own trio, with Mick Hutton and Steve Argüelles. In 1998 he recorded as a duo with Winstone for the first time. Taylor’s 60th birthday tour in 2002 saw him working with the Creative Jazz Orchestra. At the start of the new millennium he also worked in trios with Marc Johnson and Joey Baron, and Palle Danielsson and Martin France.

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September 25, 1942 in England

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s