John Taylor Interview
Tell us a bit about the trio and the musicians that you’ll be performing with.
“It’s a unit that actually hasn't played in that format before, though the three of us have been involved over the last twenty years doing various things together and separately. I play with Martin France in my trio with Palle Danielsson and I play with Julian [Argüelles] with Martin in Julian’s quartet. I’ve also played with Julian in duet and he’s also played with me in quartets with me (with Palle Danielsson). I suppose you’d call it the common denominator of all those three things. So it will be the first time that we’ve actually played a gig together like that.”
Are you writing material specifically for them or are you planning on playing some of your established repertoire?
“I think we’ll be playing a selection of Julian’s tunes and my tunes that we've played in all those aggregations that I’ve just mentioned. We obviously did a record with Julian together with Dave Holland [Circularity]. So some of that material I’ve no doubt we’ll be playing, and some of my pieces that Julian and I have played both in quartet in duet. And no doubt some of Martin’s ideas too. So hopefully it’s a group that’s supplying music from all three of us.”
Tell us about what you get out of playing and performing.
“First of all it’s jazz music and it’s music that is, on the whole, improvised and generally with one’s friends that one’s familiar with. One has a rapport and an understanding about how to make it work for the group and as individuals. I think it’s about working with that balance and try to find something that we enjoy on the night and understanding of the music that we’re involved in. We hope that it’s going to work out. I work also with a group without a bass player, with saxophone and drums in Norway – a group called Meadow, which is a similar set-up. At first when I started doing things with an unusual instrumentation I find myself obviously needing to find – not exactly a substitute for the bass player – but certainly I find myself playing in a different way too, which is good for me and I I enjoy that challenge of being in that situation. I find that very challenging and enjoyable.”
Do you play quite a lot in Norway, and Europe generally?
“I don’t play that much in Norway but I have played in that group with Thomas Strønen and Tore Brunborg. In the last few years we made a record together. I play in Marilyn Mazur’s band. She’s a drummer and percussionist from Denmark. And I play quite a lot in France with a group led by Stéphane Kerecki and he has a quintet. We did a duet record together. So I’m quite involved with different combinations. And I also work with an Italian singer, Diana Torto and Julian Siegel. We have a trio that we are working with at the moment. So I have a very varied life in terms of the sort of music that I play.”
Do you still do quite a lot of teaching?
“Yeah, actually just for the last three days I’ve been at the Royal Academy doing a workshop with a group of students and we performed last night at the concert with two other groups, one led by Michael Janisch and another one led by Martin Speake. That was good. I enjoy that practical approach to teaching which is great to play with the students and talk and discuss things together, mainly giving them the benefit of my experience I suppose. But I’m also playing with them so that’s also good and I enjoy that aspect of teaching. And I teach quite a lot like that in Italy quite a bit and other places where I’m asked to do workshops as well as perform. I find it a very important part of my life.”
How do you find the younger generation of musicians?
“Well, they’re inspiring. They’re now living in an age where of course when I was their age there were no such places to be, no colleges teaching jazz. They’re forming their relationships in their community, within their school, college or university or wherever. And of course it’s great that they have that opportunity to do so because in the streets or in the places where it used to be, there aren’t too many opportunities. So it’s great that the schools are there to be able to provide a place where they can now be together and learn from each other, over the three or four years that they’re together. And then form relationships which then continue into professional life, which is very important.”
So the trio that you’re performing with, are there any plans to record an album?
“Not at the moment, we’ll see about what to do with it once we’ve done it. As I said this is our first gig together. We’ll see what happens. I’m quite excited about it.”
“I should say that Julian Argüelles’ first record, Phaedrus, which we made in 1990, Martin France and I were part of that recording, so our relationship as a unit goes back to then. We played together on that recording and Mick Hutton was the bass player. That’s more than twenty years so we go back quite some time now.”
The John Taylor Trio perform at St. George’s Church in Kemp Town, Brighton on Saturday 28th March 2015, presented by Brighton Jazz Club.
Photo: Richard Kaby
This interview was conducted by Charlie Anderson and appeared in the March 2015 issue of The Sussex Jazz Magazine, available here.