Eloquent, affable and a true gentleman. The significance of legendary drummer, composer, bandleader, Art Taylor’s influence and contribution to so so many amazing jazz gems and the sound of the scene itself during, in particular, the 1950’s and 60’s just can not be overstated.
He masterfully kept the time for a who’s who of jazz icons and greats like Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Red Garland, Miles Davis, Gene Ammons, Kenny Dorham, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Gigi Gryce and the list really just goes, on and on and on. Even as a kid in Harlem in the area where this interview was recorded, an early band he was a part of consisted of Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham, and Jackie McLean. The mark he’d make on the music, needless to say, was inevitable. And with these artists he is on some of the most heralded recordings in the history of the music on storied labels, Bluenote, Prestige and more – Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Miles Davis’s Miles Ahead, The Amazing Bud Powell and Monk’s Town Hall Recordings to name a scant few.
His releases as a leader, including those with a rotating ensemble of amazing players called Taylor’s Wailers, continued to not only confirm his genius on the drums, but highlight his talent as a composer and bandleader with later iterations into the later part of his life becoming a revered institution for outstanding young talent. Even with all the amazing music Taylor contributed to and created, in 1995 at the age of sixty – five he left us still too soon with obviously still much valuable insight and beautiful playing to offer.
I SPY SOUL is pleased to take a look back at this Part 1 of a two – part interview segment on Simply Jazz from a 1993 show. It’s SIMPLY JAZZ on I SPY SOUL with legend, Art Taylor. BC
In 1993, SIMPLY JAZZ, a half-hour program created to present Jazz in all its various forms in a contemporary format unlike most programming presented up to that time, was born. The acclaimed program, that ran for three years, was shot on location at acclaimed jazz clubs and venues throughout NYC, and included produced segments as well as rare interviews with venerated figures and then burgeoning stars in the world of jazz. Now through the retrospective SIMPLY JAZZ on I SPY SOUL, a look back is provided at some of these interviews.