b. Mark Anthony Taylor, 7 November 1962, Hampstead, London, England. Taylor began teaching himself to play drums at the age of five, and 11 years later became a professional musician. During the next few years he played alongside numerous important jazz artists, such as Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth, John Taylor, Gordon Beck, Tony Coe and Dick Morrissey. Despite his youth, this same period saw him become a much sought-after teacher and clinician, not only in the UK but also in Europe. He also broadcast frequently on BBC radio and also on television backing local and visiting musicians. In addition to Europe he also toured the Middle East, Asia and the USA and was a regular poll-topper. Tours found him often in company with leading American jazzmen including Clifford Jordan, Art Farmer, James Moody, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Nat Pierce, Tal Farlow, Bill Berry and especially Lew Tabackin with whom he toured on several occasions in the 90s.
In 1996, at the urging of Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi, he relocated to the USA, settling in New York City where he played in their big band and also with many other noted artists including George Coleman, Monty Alexander, and Mose Allison. Taylor’s recording schedule was also very busy throughout the 80s and 90s, with sessions in the UK and USA under many leaders, including Kenny Barron, Spike Robinson, Herb Geller and Chris Flory. Taylor’s playing, which capably spans the mainstream, bop and post-bop strands of jazz, displays his superb technical skills. He swings all the bands in which he plays with great verve and enthusiasm. He is a listening drummer, finding just the right support to ensembles and soloists of all kinds including singers, working harmoniously with Cleo Laine, Irene Reid, La Velle, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dena DeRose. Still only in his thirties at the end of the 90s, Taylor is clearly a musician who will help swing jazz well into the new century.