Mark Taylor was born on May 22, 1961 in Seattle, Washington. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington then moved to New York City to get his Masters from the Manhattan School of Music. While there he performed with an array of musicians including Dick Oatts, Jim McNeely, Bob Brookmeyer, Garry Dial, David Liebman, Don Sickler, Steve Turre, Sir Roland Hanna, Bob Mintzer, John Riley, Steve Slagle, and Ted Rosenthal and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Mark performs and records extensively with such diverse and award winning groups as Matt Jorgensen +451, Jim Knapp Orchestra, Frieze of Life, Victor Noriega Trio + 2, Tom Varner’s Tentet and Quintet, Thomas Marriott, Wayne Horvitz, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and the Randy Halberstadt Quintet, as well as having appeared locally with Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, and Ernestine Anderson, Sam Yahel, Maria Schneider, the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet, among many more.
As a leader, Taylor has released two projects on Origin Records titled After Hours and Spectre which was named NW Jazz Recording in 2009 and a year earlier was honored as the NW Jazz Instrumentalist, both by Earshot Jazz Magazine.
Putting on his educator cap, he has served on the music faculty at Pacific Lutheran University, has full schedule of private students and is a guest artist and clinician for festivals, workshops and clinics throughout the region. One of the most in demand saxophonists in the Pacific Northwest, alto saxophonist Mark Taylor continues to perform and record.
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Warren Smith was born on May 17, 1908 in Middlebourne, West Virginia and and taught by hi s multi-instrumentalist father, he began playing piano from age seven. He learned cornet and saxophone before settling on the trombone.
Starting out in Harrison’s Texans, a territory band in the 1920s, Smith followed with an extended half-dozen year run in Abe Lyman’s employ in the 1930s. He worked with Bob Crosby in Indianapolis, Indiana during late in the 1930s before returning to work with Lyman briefly and closing out the decade.
Moving to Chicago, Illinois in the Forties, he settled in with Bud Jacobson and Bob Scobey, before heading to the West Coast to work with Jess Stacy and Lu Watters. In 1955 he toured with Duke Ellington, then played with Joe Darensbourg from 1957 to 1960. Through the Sixties he performed with Wild Bill Davison and Red Nichols.
On August 28, 1975 in Santa Barbara, California swing and mainstream trombonist Warren Smith, who never led a recording session but was fortunate to be able to make his living performing, passed away of natural causes at age 67.
Edmond Hall was born on May 15, 1901 in Reserve, Louisiana, into a musical family. His father, Edward, played the clarinet in the Onward Brass Band, joined by Edmond’s maternal uncles, Jules Duhe on trombone, Lawrence Duhe on clarinet, and Edmond Duhe on guitar. The Hall brothers, Robert, Edmond, and Herbert, all became clarinetists, but Edmond was first taught guitar by his uncle Edmond. When Hall finally picked up the clarinet, he played it within a week.
Tired of working as a farm-hand, by 1919 he left for New Orleans where he signed up with the band of Bud Rousell, then with trombonist Jack Cary and blues cornetist Chris Kelley. His first big break came in late 1920, when he went to a dance at Economy Hall, saw Buddy Petit and discovered his clarinet player had left the band and the following Saturday Hall was sitting in with Petit’s band as a replacement until 1922.
Arriving in Pensacola, Florida in 1923, there was a series of band as he joined Lee Collins, then Mack Thomas, the Pensacola Jazzers, where Hall met the young trumpeter Charles “Cootie” Williams, on to “Eagle Eye” Shields, the Alonzo Ross DeLuxe Syncopators, finally in 1928 with pianist Arthur “Happy” Ford.
1929 saw Edmond moving back to New York he joined Charlie Skeet’s band, followed by Claude Hopkins and an invitation to play the Savoy Ballroom. By 1935 he left Hopkins and took residency in Billy Hicks’ Sizzling Six. Hall’s new sound on the clarinet led him to recording with the big stars and in 1937 he had his first recording session with Billie Holiday, sitting alongside tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Leaving Hicks he stepped into Café Society, joining Joe Sullivan’s band in late 1937. In between the regular job at the Cafe Society he recorded with Bud Freeman, Teddy Wilson, Charlie Christian, Henry “Red” Allen, J.C. Higginbotham, Art Tatum, Big Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page, Zutty Singleton, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Sid Catlett, Josh White, Ida Cox, Coleman Hawkins, Helen Ward, Vic Dickenson, Sidney de Paris, Wild Bill Davison, Eddie Heywood, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden among others.
In 1941 Edmond led his first recording session as a leader, joined Teddy Wilson’s outfit, and made recordings as Edmond Hall’s Blue Note Jazzmen, the Edmond Hall Sextet, the Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet, Edmond Hall’s Star Quintet, Ed Hall and the Big City Jazzmen, and Edmond Hall’s Swingtet. Very popular among the musicians and critics and was frequently invited to the New York Town Hall Concerts led by Eddie Condon.
By 1944 Hall began fronting his own band, becoming a draw for Café Society. More recording dates followed for the famous Commodore Records and Blue Note labels. While business at the Café Society was exceedingly good, Hall appeared at Town Hall Concerts in between. Hall relocated successfully with his band to the Café Society Uptown and would also play for World War II servicemen.
Throughout his career he would perform with pianist George Wein, Louis Armstrong’s All Stars, tour Europe, settle in Los Angeles, California to shoot the film High Society with Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby, and appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1952, Hall, Buzzy Drootin and Ralph Sutton appeared as the Ralph Sutton Trio in Saint Louis, where they played the Encore Lounge for several weeks and were the first mixed trio there. He received the Esquire Magazine Silver Award for clarinet, a certificate for nomination as one of the outstanding jazz artists of 1961 from Playboy Magazine and was awarded as the best Clarinetist by the English Melody Maker.
Clarinetist and bandleader Edmond Hall, who also played alto and baritone saxophones and is perhaps best known for the 1941 chamber jazz song Profoundly Blue, which is regarded as a pre-World War II jazz classic, passed away on February 11, 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Larry Ochs was born May 3, 1949 in New York City and studied trumpet briefly but concentrated on tenor and soprano saxophones. He has worked as a record producer and founded his own label, Metalanguage Records in 1978, in addition to operating the Twelve Stars studio in California.
A co-founder the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Larry worked in Glenn Spearman’s Double Trio. A frequent recipient of commissions, he composed the music for the play Goya’s L.A. in 1994 and for the film Letters Not About Love, which was named best documentary at SXSW in 1998.
He has played in a trio called Room, and the What We Live ensemble. He formed the group Kihnoua in 2007 with vocalist Dohee Lee and Scott Amendola on drums and electronics, releasing Unauthorized Caprices in 2010.
Avant-garde saxophonist Larry Ochs has released twelve albums as a leader, another twenty-three with Rova and a half dozen with Glenn Spearman, Fred Firth and Maybe Monday, dave Rempis and Darren Johnston. He has performed with Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, Donald Robinson, continues to perform and record.
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Ira Sullivan was born May 1, 1931 in Washington, D.C. and was taught trumpet by his father, saxophone by his mother and played both in the 1950s Chicago, Illinois with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Wardell Gray and Roy Eldridge, garnering a reputation as a fearsome bebop soloist. After playing briefly with Art Blakey in 1956, he mastered alto and baritone saxophone before moving south to Florida and out of the spotlight in the early Sixties.
Sullivan was reluctant to travel which limited his opportunities to play with musicians of the first rank, but he continued to play in the Miami area, often in schools and churches. Hanging out with local younger players Jaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny, led to teaching and to broadening of his own musical roots to include the lessons of John Coltrane’s music and elements of jazz rock.
Adding flute and soprano saxophone to his armoury, Ira moved to New York City and in 1980 formed a quintet with legendary bop trumpeter Red Rodney where they worked on new material and fostered young talent to produce some fresh and stimulating music. He and his longtime friend and collaborator jazz pianist and vibraphonist Stu Katz, co-led a multi-night performance with at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase in Chicago.
Ira has performed and/or recorded with Red Rodney, Erin McDougald, Rob Block, Art Blakey, Frank Catalano, Kelly Sill, Charles Heath, Eddie Harris, Roland Kirk, Marc Berner, Lin Halliday, J. R. Monterose, Rita Reys and Billy Taylor and numerous others.
Trumpeter, flugelhornist, flautist, saxophonist, and composer Ira Sullivan has recorded as a leader and currently teaches at the Young Musicians Camp each summer at the University of Miami and remains an active musician on the jazz scene.