I’ve been very saddened hearing of the passing of the great pianist John Taylor.
Some favourite albums are his work with Azimuth, the Peter Erskine Trio and Kenny Wheeler.
I had the pleasure of presenting a concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and making a recording of one of my projects with him in 2005. No matter what I had composed John always made it his own with his unique touch and time-feel. It was also an amazing learning experience playing with one of the best accompanists and a true improviser – on the pieces we had multiple solo takes it was near impossible trying to decide which one to use on the record. I also remember from the session that he was in good spirits as he had reconnected with his high school sweetheart (his future wife) and whenever there were breaks on the session he’d head outside to text with her. After the day’s recording we would end the eve off with a hang at the pub – we found a decent English pub near his hotel. A very friendly and warm soul, it was great to hear stories and his thoughts about working with Kenny and others.
Several years later we reconnected at The Sound Symposium in Newfoundland where he was playing a solo concert. Not only was the music sublime, but the hang afterwards over several pints was also as welcoming as ever.
I’m very glad I had an opportunity to work with him. I’m thinking about his music and playing, reminiscing about my session and wishing his family my condolences.