Mark Taylor was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1961. He started playing piano at age six, singing in the Chattanooga Boy’s Choir at seven and took up the clarinet at nine, later switching to bass clarinet, then fell in love with the French horn as a teenager. Intent on a career in orchestral and studio playing, Mark studied music at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. There, he was introduced to jazz and the music of Julius Watkins, Miles Davis' and Thelonious Monk's favorite French horn player. Mesmerized by the possibilities of improvising with the French horn, he transferred to the jazz and studio music program, studying with jazz education pioneer Jerry Coker and graduating in 1986. After graduate studies with Dave Holland and George Russell at New England Conservatory in Boston, Mark moved to New York where he has performed and recorded for two decades with an array of modern giants. He has released two CDs as a leader, QuietLand on Mapleshade Records and Circle Squared on his own Taymons Music label.
Mark has performed with orchestras, chamber ensembles, recording ensembles, jazz groups and big bands for as long as he can remember. "I’ve worked with jazz legends like drummer Max Roach as a featured soloist and toured with critically acclaimed cutting-edge composers like Henry Threadgill (Very Very Circus) and Muhal Richard Abrams," Mark says. "I’ve also recorded behind pop icons like BeBe Winans and Michael Bolton. My jazz solos have appeared on small indie labels like Black Saint and majors like Sony Records; I've performed in jazz clubs, festivals and concerts from Finland to Syria."
"I see myself as a storyteller," Mark says. "I am a composer and performer and I’ve always felt that a good concert should take listeners on a journey. That you can, in fact, present much more challenging information to an audience if you lead them to it. In my writing, I like to create a mood, a feeling in the band and then use the horn to elaborate, embellish that mood. In other words, I'm using instrumental colour and timbre and range as characters to construct a musical story and allow the audience a little glimpse into the universe that I inhabit."
Mark has also been commissioned to compose for theatre and dance. He placed two songs in the Dollface Productions independent feature film "The Girl", scored documentaries, "A String of Pearls", and “9/11: The Forgotten Underdogs”, and created music, sound design and audio post for “Zero Down O.A.C.”, a dark comedy by Canadian filmmaker Aaron Moseson. For the Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble, Mark is currently working on a series of transcriptions of music associated with seminal jazz/ragtime bandleader James Reese Europe’s 369th “Harlem Hellfighters” , the military band that brought the first jazz to France in 1918, launching the Jazz Age in Europe.
Taylor's sound has been described as "rapturous" and "golden" by Coda Magazine. Jazz Times says his horn is "as fluid and limpid as (the) flute, and as gnarly as (the) alto." His innovative playing has won him recognition by such legendary artists as Max Roach, who said, "Mark Taylor is a virtuoso instrumentalist...there is no one dealing with the French horn or the music the way he is."
For more info on Mark Taylor
go to http://www.marktaylormusic.net
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