Trumpeter Curtis Taylor to Release New Project “Taylor Made” on April 12th, 2024 | LISTEN!

TRUMPETER/COMPOSER CURTIS TAYLOR RELEASES
FIRST FULL-LENGTH ALBUM
TAYLOR MADE

Coming April 12, 2024

Although trumpeter CURTIS TAYLOR has performed with some of the top names in jazz and has been a sideman on two dozen recordings as well as recording two EPs as a leader, he has been flying under the radar far too long. But that may well change with his debut full-length album, TAYLOR MADE, a showcase for his considerable playing, writing, and arranging talents. TAYLOR MADE follows #Hashtagged (2017) and Snapshot (2019), recorded live at the World Stage in Los Angeles.

Taylor’s core group of musicians are from the Midwest, including MARCUS ELLIOT (tenor sax), THERON BROWN (piano), JONATHON MUIR-COTTON (acoustic and electric bass) and ALEX WHITE (drums). San Diego-based percussionist DAVID CASTAÑEDA joins the group on the second track.

The Ohio native made a name for himself early on in his career when he performed on Gregory Porter’s Grammy-winning 2013 CD, Liquid Spirit. He also appeared on Porter’s debut CD, Water, and in his documentary, Don’t Forget Your Music. Taylor has extensive performing and recording credits that include Patrice Rushen, Billy Childs, Gary Novak, Bob Sheppard, Ed Motta, Marvin “Smitty’ Smith, Rodney Whitaker, Antonio Hart, and gospel luminaries Karen Clark-Sheard, Kierra Sheard and the Singletons. Taylor’s stint with jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut included a notable concert performance at the Kennedy Center, which was recorded for NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, an appearance at the Spoleto Jazz Festival, and a week-long engagement at Dizzy’s Club in NYC. Taylor also toured extensively around Europe and the U.S. with saxophonist James Carter’s quintet.

Although Taylor is a superb trumpet player, in his youth he aspired to learn the saxophone. However, financial constraints led his mother to steer him to the trumpet. Taylor relates, “We had just moved to Bedford, Ohio, and money was tight. My mother told me ‘You’re going to play the trumpet.’ At the time, the cost of a saxophone was around 3,000 dollars, while a trumpet was only 300 dollars, making it a more feasible option.” From that point on, Taylor committed himself to mastering the trumpet and never looked back.

At the age of 11, Taylor experienced the loss of his father. Fortunately, during this time, caring and generous music teachers became his mentors. A couple of years later, the school’s band director, Shawn Nichols, saw Taylor’s potential and encouraged him to get involved in the jazz ensemble. He also took Taylor to several concerts around the city where he got his first real taste of jazz. One night after seeing a great concert featuring trumpeters Jon Faddis and Steve Enos, Taylor was so inspired that he decided, at the age of thirteen, that he wanted a career in music. Taylor continued his music education throughout high school and went on to receive a BA in Jazz Studies at Michigan State University in 2007. He then received a master’s degree at Rutgers University, where had studied with the late William “Prof” Fielder, a legendary educator who taught many jazz notables like Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and Sean Jones, among others. After graduating, he spent time in New York trying to kick off his career when he got a call from Kamau Kenyatta, Gregory Porter’s producer. Taylor had met Kenyatta several years earlier at a jam session in Detroit, and Kenyatta invited Taylor to come out to San Diego to play on Porter’s debut album, Water. He subsequently tapped Taylor’s talents to play on Porter’s sophomore release, Liquid Spirit, along with other projects he produced.

Taylor liked Southern California, especially the mild winters, and decided to relocate there. He quickly became a sought-after performer in the SoCal jazz scene as well as a guest lecturer at Cal State San Marcos. Taylor has performed with his quartet across the US at many top venues and festivals, most recently at Font Festival (2020), Detroit Jazz Festival (2020), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2021), Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (2021) and the Blue Llama Jazz Club (2021). Taylor moved back to the Midwest in 2021 to become a lecturer at the University of Iowa’s Jazz department, where he teaches jazz history, jazz theory and directs the JRE Big Band.

Taylor’s compositions swing but all have a fresh, modern perspective. His playing is a fluid blend of soul, blues, gospel, and bebop with expressive, lyrical solos. For TAYLOR MADE, he carefully selected songs that he had crafted over the years and perfected through numerous captivating performances.

Taylor opens the album with “Kham’s Dilemma,” a tribute to his son Khamari, who was born in 2018. The title was inspired by Wynton Marsalis’ popular “Delfeayo’s Dilemma.” “After the Rain” is a happy, upbeat tune. Taylor recalls, “I wrote this song during a visit to my mother’s house. I sat at the piano and this melody started to come to me while it was raining. I was having trouble coming up with the bridge of the song, which I finally finished right after the rain ended, so I decided to call the song ‘After the Rain.’” The tune is very popular in Taylor’s live performances, and he often uses it to close his shows.

Taylor set out to represent the feeling of nervous energy with “Heightened Awareness,” a driving composition with a post-bop attitude featuring smoking solos by Taylor, Elliot, and Brown. “For Her” was inspired by a past relationship with a woman who was a dancer. Written in 3/4 time, Taylor wanted to capture the expression of a dancer’s graceful, elegant movements.

“Indomitable” is about the will to prevail, which is represented with recurring musical figures that create an undercurrent that keeps pulling you back in. Taylor revisited and expanded “Hashtagged,” initially recorded on his EPs #Hashtagged and Snapshot. The 7/4 meter composition was inspired by Robert Glasper’s “Jelly’s Da Beener.” Taylor closes the album with “Journey,” a number with a Maiden Voyage vibe written during a transitional period of his life.

Although Taylor is teaching at the School of Music at the University of Iowa, he maintains a busy touring schedule. Admired by his numerous fans who have been lucky enough to hear him play live, with the wide release of TAYLOR MADE, jazz enthusiasts across the country will be able to enjoy his hip, soulful, contemporary originals.

TAYLOR MADE is set for release on April 12, 2024 and will be available at Bandcamp and at Curtistaylor.net, as well as on all streaming platforms.

Online:

Curtistaylor.net
Facebook.com/curtis.taylor.73744
Instagram.com/curtisdtaylor @curtisdtaylor
Youtube.com/user/curtistaylormusic/videos

Mouthpiece Music

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