Essential Jazz Reading: Notes and Tones, by Arthur Taylor

Notes and Tones, a book of jazz interviews by Art Taylor

Even now, after having studied and played jazz music for more than three decades, there’s still plenty I will admit to not knowing about the art form, and the context in which much of it was created. I was drawn to this music in the late 1980’s, as a Canadian teenager who loved what he heard, but who was somewhat oblivious to the ongoing racial strife in America. Sure, I read plenty of biographies and…

12 Albums

Bret Zvacek, the Director of Jazz Studies at the Crane School of Music, asked me and several other jazz educators to: “List 12 (jazz) albums in no particular order that made a lasting impression on you, but only 1 per band.” Here’s my list: Fred Hersch – Forward Motion Jerry Bergonzi – Standard Gonz Michael Cain – Circa Maria Schneider – Evanescence John Coltrane – A Love Supreme Jim McNeely – Group Therapy Azimuth –…

New Orleans Jazz: The Music of Freedom

Two Mansfield (CT) Middle School students interviewed my UConn colleague Marvin McNeill and me for a brief video documentary they created about the origins of jazz. Their video is thoughtfully researched and includes some compelling, historical film footage and photos. They placed second in a regional film competition and went on to compete at the state level. Congratulations to Mathew Chandy and his partner, Porter! Here is their completed project: As an add-on to the topic of…

Even Michael Brecker Questioned Himself

A couple of weeks ago, I played a concert with Avery Sharpe as the bass player. I was a bit “freaked out” going in, because Avery was the longtime bassist of one of my piano idols, McCoy Tyner (John Coltrane’s pianist). I had heard Avery live several times with McCoy’s trio and even had played along with records of this group regularly during my college days. Now here I was, onstage with Avery, playing one…