Interview and photo by Steve Korn
Someone once told me, “Nobody cares about your creativity or your original music”. Wrong.
When I was 14, I discovered Bird, Cannonball, and Phil Woods.
The saxophone is my voice.
If I could do it all over again, I’d be better at trusting my initial instincts more and just getting on with it!
Practice makes no difference at all if you have no plan or goal.
When I look at where I’m at right now, I’m proud of the projects I’ve been a part of and grateful to the musicians who include me.
The piece of music that first mesmerized me was Charlie Parker with Strings “Just Friends”
Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m not trying to come up with an idea.
My parents were and are, always completely supportive. I’m very lucky.
Fear is indecision.
Motivation is best when it’s internally based.
As I get older, I’ve realized that if you try to please everyone, you’re not being sincere. That, and I’m not nearly as old as some of you other guys.
In the big scheme of things, what really matters is are you happy? Do you love what you do? Do you care about the people around you?
Music has taught me friendship, trust, confidence, humility, compromise … pretty much everything.
People ask me “why does your neck expand so much when you play” (I have no idea).
Discipline is following through.
Change is essential to creativity.
I chose the saxophone because frankly, it looked way cooler than the clarinet.
When I’m stuck I become a chronic procrastinator. Not a good trait.
Improvisation is reacting to your surroundings instead of your script.
When I’m playing well, it feels like I’m focused more on my band mates than myself. No thinking, no tension, no forcing…just acting and reacting to the music.
If I could have made a career on another instrument, it would have been the bass or piano. I’d love to have a role in the rhythm section…you’re constantly involved in the development of the piece.
Some musicians just don’t understand. I totally agree!
Your audience is capable of elevating the level of your performance…the opposite can happen too!
Becoming a parent has been my greatest decision.
Mark Taylor is one of the most in demand saxophonists in the Pacific Northwest. A Seattle native and resident, Mark’s personal sound and style are a fixture on the local jazz scene and have given him opportunities to perform for audiences all over the United States and Japan. Widely respected as a unique and creative improviser, an impeccable ensemble player, and for his stylistic versatility, 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 Seattle Tentet, Thomas Marriott’s “Willie Nelson Project”, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Randy Halberstadt Quintet, and the New York Composers Orchestra lead by Wayne Horvitz and Tom Varner.
Mark also leads his own quartet which has recorded for Origin Records (Mark Taylor with Radio Action: “Afterhours”) and has another recording due out in 2009. Additionally, Mark has appeared locally with legends such as Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, and Ernestine Anderson, current headliners in jazz such as Sam Yahel and Maria Schneider, as well as appearances with the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
As an educator, Mark has a full studio of private students and is a much sought after clinician for festivals, workshops, and clinics throughout the region. He holds a BM from the University of Washington (1994), and MM from the Manhattan School of Music (2000) in New York City where his performance credentials include appearances with the Grammy Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
For more information, visit www.marktaylorjazz.com
For more information about the Leading Questions Project, click here.