Jamie Taylor’s Continuing Jazz Guitar Journey: Interview with Jazz Guitar Life

Photo credit: Ron Milsom

What I would say is that nothing moves me more than people improvising with genuine emotional directness and range. All the greats have it, and not just in the jazz world. It’s nothing to do with technique or style and it’s so much more subtle than all those cliches about ‘less being more’. Sometimes people think it’s more expressive if you contort your face and bend the strings, but it isn’t necessarily that either. It’s about how you channel your humanity into the music, and it’s the only thing that matters in the end.

Jamie Taylor

I first “met” Jamie Taylor through a series of email correspondence where he was kindly recommending a bunch of UK based Jazz Guitarists for possible inclusion on Jazz Guitar Life. A few of the names had already been featured and as I began to check out the other players mentioned, I also looked into Jamie’s own acomplishments as both a player and educator and quickly realized that he was a most definite candidate for a featured interview as well, which he graciously accepted. And here it is!

In this interview, Jamie talks about his past and present achievements as a teacher and working musician alongside his choice of gear, his working relationships with fellow guitarists and who he’d love to get a chance to play with. An insightful and fun interview that I hope you all enjoy! 🙂

But first…

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JGL: Thank you Jamie for taking the time to talk to Jazz Guitar Life. First off, if we can get into a little background about you that would be great. How old are you?

JT: I’m 45.

JGL: Where in the world do you call home?

JT: I live in Sheffield, in the North of England.

JGL: For those who may not know you, could you give us an elevator pitch of who Jamie Taylor is and then we’ll get into more detail as this interview unfolds.

JT: Sure. Work-wise, I’m a jazz guitarist and teacher, now into his third decade of what I guess might be termed a ‘portfolio’ music career. It’s been a mixture of gigging and teaching of various kinds, which I’m sure we’ll get into shortly.

JGL: We will indeed! But first, let’s go back a bit. At what age did you first start playing the guitar and were you interested in jazz from the start or were there other musical interests before jazz? How did you find your way to this particular music and instrument?

JT: I was about 10 years old when I first picked the guitar up, and I think I took my first proper lesson on my 11th birthday actually. My Dad had played the folk clubs back in the 60s and he had an acoustic which I learned a few chords on, then I got a beginner’s electric (a Marlin – anyone remember those?!). It was a fairly crude thing by today’s standards but, crucially, the neck was straight and the action was playable, so I was away…

The jazz thing started when Dad videoed a televised concert for me that he’d stumbled across one night. This turned out to be a Dublin-based production called “The Session” and the one he taped featured Mundell Lowe and Louis Stewart, fronting a jazz group augmented by a string quartet. This was within a year of me first starting to play, so it was very early. Of course, I had no idea what was going on, but I was transfixed by the sound they were making and especially the instruments themselves – they both had these exquisite archtop guitars. I know it’s a cliché to say it, but I wore the VHS tape out pretty much. We only managed to grab the last half of it back then; now, of course, it’s all on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dyKsKslPdto

(It bothers me a bit that a youngster is much less likely to stumble over the music like that today. The show went out on Channel 4, which was a new TV station back then – before that, we only had three! For all the digital access nowadays, you have to know what’s there to look for it.)

Naturally, it wasn’t just jazz – like any young guitar player, I was really into the rock thing as well. Brian May and Jimi Hendrix were two of my early favourites, followed by David Gilmour and Robert Fripp later on.

JGL: Nice! When coming up as a young player, did you attend a formal educational institution or are you self taught? Was there one – or more – particular moments that opened the flood gates so to speak as you went about learning this music?

JT: I’ve been very fortunate to have excellent teachers, almost from day one. They weren’t all jazz-orientated, but every one of them gave me something helpful. I was also lucky that the local state school I attended had a remarkable music department at the time. I got to learn a lot of general musicianship stuff there, and they sought out excellent visiting instrumental tutors from the area. The guitar teacher they brought in was Chris Walker, and meeting him was pivotal. At the time, he was also teaching on the jazz programme at Leeds College of Music (now Leeds Conservatoire) and, largely because of him, I ended up enrolling there in 1997. I’m still very good friends with Chris and he lives nearby. Once at Leeds, I received very inspiring tuition from Pete Sklaroff and Jez Franks. I certainly owe all three of them a great deal.

I’d also mention the amazing (and continuing) efforts of Adrian Ingram and Trefor Owen in sustaining a jazz guitar scene in my part of the world. Both were pivotal in that 1995 guitar summer school I mentioned to you when we did the ‘Desert Island Picks’.

JGL: Did you know early on that music was something you wanted to do as a career choice and if so, what have you done to make this choice work for you? Were there any barriers or obstacles that you had to overcome at the beginning?

JT: Yeah, I never wanted to do anything else really. I guess the way I’ve made it work is to try hard, stay focused, and keep life simple wherever possible. As regards barriers, I wasn’t accepted into full-time musical study right away. After my first audition, they said they liked my playing but I didn’t yet have the reading and aural skills required. Again, though, I was lucky to be able to find people nearby who were able to help me with that, and I managed to succeed at the second attempt.

I suppose I grew up quite a long way from the really big musical centres, but nothing in the UK is all that far away and, as I described, I had a wonderful education in my own backyard.  So, basically, I can only think of musical and psychological obstacles really, which I realize makes me very fortunate. There have been a lot of supportive people involved along the way, and I thank them all.

JGL: Well then…who were your influences on jazz guitar when you were beginning, and have they stayed the same or have they changed over the years? Who are you listening to today (guitarists or non-guitarists)?

JT: Well, after the initial experience with Mundell and Louis, I listened to everything I could – all the old greats. I didn’t have much access to jazz albums where I lived, so a lot of it came from compilation cassettes initially. Kenny Burrell was an early one, then Grant Green. Later on, I drew a lot of inspiration from Pat Martino. Funnily enough, for someone who was studying in the 1990s, I never heard all that much Scofield and Metheny, who were obviously the titans of that era. Of course, I have done since, and I love their work.

Today, I listen to all sorts of people, and I’ve become a lot more receptive to the contemporary styles since then. John Abercrombie and Kurt Rosenwinkel were maybe the first to widen my listening palate in that direction. More generally, amongst the younger players I think Julian Lage, Pasquale Grasso, Mary Halvorson, and Francesco Diodati all have very strong individual voices.

I’m also a huge trumpet fan, and listen often to Miles, Freddie, Wynton, “Sweets” Edison, Kenny Wheeler, and Enrico Rava, amongst many others.

JGL: Very cool. In the same vein, who has been most influential in your life as a Jazz Guitarist and why?

JT: That’s a really tough one. Musically, I probably took the most from Pat Martino and Grant Green. But the jazz guitarists who have most influenced my life are the people I know. I’ve already mentioned teachers, but friends and collaborators are so important as well. Sam Dunn (who I think we’re coming to shortly) has been a huge influence on my life; John Stowell and Phil Robson have been important role models for me as well.

Speaking of John, being involved in education, I’m always very drawn to great players who are also admired as teachers e.g. Ted Dunbar, Joe Diorio, Sheryl Bailey, Randy Vincent etc. If I should generate a fraction of the inspiration that they’ve all given (and give) to people, I’ll be delighted.

JGL: I get that! Tell me, has there been a major influence in your life who was NOT a guitarist and why?

JT: Probably the first really world class musician I got to play with was a wonderful bandleader and multi-instrumentalist named Al Wood. I’m delighted to say that Al, who held about four or five different chairs in the Maynard Ferguson band at various times, is still playing and he recently wrote some lovely big band charts for a recent album recorded by a bunch of his old alumni. One of the charts was a double guitar feature for me and Sam; you can imagine how much fun that was to do!

More recently, the drummer Sebastiaan DeKrom has been a huge influence as well. Seb has played with Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter, amongst many others, and his stories are amazing. He has a resident gig at The Troubadour in London, and he’s booked me quite a bit for those in the last few years, which has been a really great experience.

I think those two have given me the greatest amount of what you might call ‘bandstand’ education – I’ve learned an enormous amount from both of them, on and off stage. Of course, my family and close friends are huge influences on me as well. My wife Hannah, who is also a professional musician, would be at the very top of that list.

JGL: Of course! Speaking of being – or more aptly, becoming a professional musician – what was your practice routine like when you were starting out and what is it like now? Are there specific areas that you work on or do you just play through tunes? When improvising, are you thinking chord/scale relationships or is there something else going on?

JT: It’s great that you acknowledge the fact that practise changes over time; mine is certainly very different now than it was 20+ years ago! I think there’s a sliding scale of effort vs. reward with practice actually. When you start, there’s so much fundamental stuff that you have to sort out, like where to find everything on the fingerboard and so forth. There’s some real hard graft there but the trade-off is that, if you crack on with it, you can make huge strides forward in a very short space of time.

Nowadays, a lot of it is playing through tunes, and trying to familiarise myself with music for the next run of gigs. I still have to revisit the basics from time to time, but I think I have more fun with it these days. Of course, the flip side of that is that the ‘quantum leaps’ forward are rather less likely. I’m not suggesting for one second that I know everything, and obviously I still aspire to improve, but it becomes a more gradual and ineffable thing as you get older.

As for what I think about when improvising, it depends. On a familiar standard or a blues, I try not to think about anything at all these days – I’m just trying to hear melodies and connect ideas. However, if someone asks me to solo over an unfamiliar, perhaps more contemporary, chord progression then it’s likely to become a lot more theoretically self-conscious, at least to begin with. I’ll try to convert chords, or groups of them, into related scales and see what I can find from there.

JGL: On the topic of practice routines, you are highly regarded as an educator. What would you advise students of Jazz Guitar to work on if you could only choose two components and why?

JT: Thank you, that’s kind. Tough question though; only two…?

JGL: LOL. Yes…at least for now 🙂

JT: Well, someone would certainly need to know the geography of basic major and minor keys i.e. the scales themselves, the chords/arpeggios that associate with them, and how all that’s used in songs. As I said, there’s a bit of legwork there, but you can’t skip it really.

Working on time is really essential as well. I’m a big believer in metronome practise, and it can be a mistake to think that a play-along track is the same thing. Anything that’s played with good time has a chance of working out, and you’ll be very popular with other musicians if your solos and accompaniments have a strong pulse.

If those are my only two, then I’ll have to hope that learning tunes goes without saying… 😉

JGL: I hope it does as well! And speaking of tunes…you have a wonderful regular guitar-duo with the great Sam Dunn – who has been featured on Jazz Guitar Life – in a Ronnie Scott series called Two For the Road. How did you and Sam get together and what were/are the pros and – if any – cons of playing alongside another guitarist?

JT: Thank you – yes, Sam is a wonderful guitarist indeed. The two of us met at college in 1998, so we’ve just celebrated 25 years of talking about jazz, guitars, and football. And playing, of course…! I think we’ve developed a really good musical understanding in that time, and it’s an absolute joy to work with him. It helps that Sam’s a consummate accompanist. I hope I manage to repay some of that when he’s taking the lead.

Photo credit: Nina Clark

The pros of playing with another guitar are that you have a huge range of possibilities, since the instrument can be front-line or rhythm as required. There aren’t really any downsides as such, but I suppose a guitar duo is all the same instrument whereas, if you’re the only guitarist in a group, it’s a different colour when your turn comes around. For that reason, the two participants in a guitar duo should have contrasting voices ideally – compatible, but different.

JGL: Good point and in that regard, you have also played with a slew of other great Jazz Guitarists such as Sheryl Bailey, John Stowell and Roni Ben-Hur to name but a few. What were these associations like and is there a “learning-curve” playing with such top talent?

JT: Again, it was an absolute delight to work with all the people you mention. I loved playing with Roni, but we only played a few tunes together at a festival, whereas I got to do full duo concerts with Sheryl and, later, with John. All these were really magical occasions; some of the most memorable gigs I’ve ever done. It sounds romantic, but the music seemed to be playing itself at times, with both of them. I hope I’m not imagining things, but I think we all felt it actually.

Photo credits: Kate Griffin – Ed Robinson

The thing about playing with artists who are that good is that it’s easy, because they make it easy. They’re amazing accompanists, their time is impeccable, and everything they play makes perfect musical sense. All you have to do is bring something of your own to it, and try to make it as easy for them as they’re making it for you. Of course, the worst thing you can do is attempt to copy or compete with them, but that’s true of any situation really.

JGL: Agreed! Who else of note have you played with and any fond memories?

JT: Quite a few people down the years. Being based up in the North of England, I haven’t had a lot of chance to work with American artists but the NYC tenor player Wayne Escoffery guested on a couple of Seb’s gigs last year, and I also did a studio session with the bassist John Goldsby around the same time. They were very different but totally amazing experiences. A number of wonderful European saxophonists come to mind as well, such as Bart DeFoort (Belgium), Baptiste Herbin (France), Dave O’Higgins and Alan Barnes (UK). These were all just occasional or one-off things, where I happened to be on the gig, but I loved playing with all of them, and I do hope we might cross paths again one day.

JGL: On the topic of performances, I see in the “Gigs” section of your website that you have played a Kenny Burrell/Grant Green set with the Sebastiaan DeKrom Trio featuring DeKrom on Drums, you on Guitar and Jeremy Brown on Bass at the World famous Troubadour club in London. That sounds like a fun gig! Was that your idea and what material would a set like that consist of? I am assuming that the gig went well 🙂

JT: Actually, that was Seb’s idea, but I didn’t need much persuading! We do it quite often in fact, and it’s always great fun. The repertoire tends to come from Grant’s Blue Note stuff and Kenny’s early trio work. Of course, you never run out of it, because both those guys recorded so much, thankfully. The Troubadour is a fantastic place – back in the 50s, it inspired Doug Weston to give his club in Hollywood the same name, and he even used the same lettering for the sign!

JGL: Wow! How very cool! Speaking of history…kind of…lol…is there anyone alive or dead who you’d love to get play and/or record with and why?

JT: I’d love to properly meet Peter Bernstein one day. I did meet him briefly online during the pandemic lockdown when he delivered a webinar to the students at Leeds. I’d been asked beforehand to act as host, but I was totally superfluous to requirements as it turned out! Peter just got straight in there with the students; it was really wonderful. His insights on that occasion were fabulous and he was so generous with his time.

Bruce Forman is another one as well. I absolutely love his playing and, apparently, he encourages guitarists to have a quick go on that iconic ES-350 of Barney’s, so that we all get some DNA on it. Whatever would you play on there though?

JGL: True! The pressure would be on! Now…from your website: “In the educational field, Jamie is a Principal Lecturer in Jazz Guitar on the degree programme at Leeds Conservatoire, for which he also served as Course Leader between 2007-2009. “ – That sounds like a great way to pay the bills 🙂 How did you get into the formal side of teaching?

JT: Well, the Course Leader thing was a good bill-payer certainly! These days I’m only a part-time guitar teacher at Leeds but it’s still very welcome work, of course, and I absolutely love doing it. Their jazz programme started in 1967, which makes it one of the first in Europe, and it’s a wonderful community to this day, with amazing students and faculty.

Regarding how I got into the guitar teaching, there was a lot of serendipity involved once again. I did a little concert at the city’s Central Library, and the college’s then Director of Performance happened to attend. He remembered me because I’d been a student there, and he must have enjoyed what he heard. Not long afterwards, a member of staff left, and he ended up giving me a call.

I did all sorts of work for them, though, in the early days. I did some basic group guitar lessons to students on an instrument-making course that was running at the time, then I inherited a music history and analysis class for a while as well. I didn’t jump straight in to the work I’m doing now and, of course, I was gigging and practising like crazy in the background the whole time.

JGL: I can imagine! On the same topic, do you give private lessons and if so, how does one go about studying with you? Is there a particular level of student you are looking for?

JT: I do indeed, both in-person and online. Just drop me a line via my homepage www.jamie-taylor.com

If someone is interested in learning about improvisation, then I don’t really mind about their level. Lack of experience is no obstacle and, although it probably helps if they’ve done a bit of general guitar playing before tackling the jazz stuff, we can work through it.  People gradually demystified it for me, and I just want to do the same.

JGL: Nice! You have performed in a variety of musical situations, is there one that you prefer over the other and is there a particular situation you have yet to play in but would like to (ie: trio, quartet, duo, solo, etc.)?

JT: I think I’ve probably done most of the formats now. The organ trio is a big favourite of mine. I do quite a bit of that with Seb and Pete Whittaker in London and now a new group has just started up here: Trio JDM, with Dave Walsh on drums and Martin Longhawn on the keys. We’re booked into the studio in August and have a little tour lined up in November; I can’t wait!

The amazing thing with organ trios is that, although the Hammond makes a huge sound, it never seems to overpower you; the harmonics are so complementary. It’s true the other way as well; you can do really energetic comping behind an organist that a pianist probably wouldn’t thank you for. Saying that, I do hope the organists I mentioned would agree with me, and haven’t been secretly wishing I’d shut up!

I’ve started doing a few solo guitar concerts just lately, and I’ve done many different kinds of duo work as well. Anything where you end up soloing unaccompanied is the absolute Everest of guitar. I can survive it now, but I doubt if I’ll ever find it easy.

JGL: You’re probably in good company and definitely not alone in that regard! That being said, and slightly shifting the topic a tad, you are featured on a number of recordings as either a co-leader or member of a band. Have you thought about taking the plunge as a leader and recording your own album? Or maybe you have already done so and I missed it?

JT: I definitely need to get some new music out there, that’s for sure. It’ll happen – there’s the new organ trio, as I say, plus Sam and I plan to record soon as well.

There is one album that actually has my name on the spine: an old one called “Cat Dreams” which I made for a small label called GLP, way back in 2008. Looks like it’s still available – I haven’t heard it for years, and my playing has changed a lot since then, but I certainly enjoyed doing it at the time, and the musicians involved were fabulous.

Once I get some new material out there, I might explore the possibility of doing something with the older recordings I’ve been involved in. I’m not anticipating Black Friday levels of demand, but someone out there might be curious.

JGL: No doubt Jamie! No doubt! As you’ve mentioned possibly working on new material, I’ve noticed that alongside your acumen as a Jazz Guitarist you are also quite adept at finger-style acoustic playing. Is this a style that you work on a lot? How did this style find its way into your playing and what came first?

JT: Yeah, that’s an occasional hobby really. It isn’t something I’ve worked on particularly, but I suppose it grows out of my attraction to other kinds of guitar-based music. There’s this lovely area where the folk/country thing cross-pollinates with jazz, particularly on the acoustic guitar. I’m thinking about early Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, and Philip Catherine amongst many others. Also, if you’re on holiday somewhere, it’s really nice be able to sit with an acoustic and strum though something whilst looking at a nice view. There’s no better feeling! The problem with jazz guitar is that you’re often trying to make it sound like something else; a piano, or tenor sax perhaps. It’s nice for the guitar to sound like a guitar sometimes.

JGL: I totally agree. In a similar vein is there a particular style of music that touches your heart more than others?

JT: Well, it’s different emotions with different things. That really deep swing that Ben Webster and Sweets Edison played fills me with joy every time I hear it, but then Keith Jarrett or Ralph Towner can bring a tear to my eye, in a totally different way.

What I would say is that nothing moves me more than people improvising with genuine emotional directness and range. All the greats have it, and not just in the jazz world. It’s nothing to do with technique or style and it’s so much more subtle than all those cliches about ‘less being more’. Sometimes people think it’s more expressive if you contort your face and bend the strings, but it isn’t necessarily that either. It’s about how you channel your humanity into the music, and it’s the only thing that matters in the end.

JGL: So true. And of course, one needs an instrument to do such channeling. From what I can see on your website you play a beautiful wine-red ES-175. How did you latch on to this particular guitar and what other guitars do you have on hand? Is there a special “go-to” guitar that you instinctively grab for?

JT: That’s my baby! It’s actually an L4, rather than an ES-175, but you’ve got to look very hard to see the difference (the neck pickup is slightly closer to the fingerboard than it would be on the 175). I got it from a specialist dealer about six years ago now; I was actually looking for an old 175, but we don’t have loads of the old jazz boxes over here. I love the one I ended up with anyway!

JGL: Wow! I had no idea. They seem very similar and now I know how to spot the differences. Thanks for that! 🙂 Speaking of gear, what do you use live in the way of guitars, amps and – if any – processing? Is there a guitar and/or amp that you would love to own but for whatever reason aren’t able to?

JT: My working guitars currently are the L4 and a PRS S2 solid-body, which is one of the more mid-range models of theirs. They’re polar opposites really; the PRS is one of those stripped-back guitars where everything works perfectly, and it gives you a blank canvas to paint on. The Gibson, meanwhile, is much quirkier – it’s full of character and certainly lets you know how it wants to be played. I love them both. I also have a couple of nice Hofners (one German built and one Chinese made) which date back to an endorsement deal I had with them some years ago. I’m always glad to fly the flag for that brand; I had many happy years of playing their guitars on stage, and would recommend them to anyone.

Amp-wise: assuming there’s one at the gig, or you can drive there, I think there’s a lot to be said for those larger valve combos like the Fender Twin or the Deluxe Reverb. The open back cabinets seem to spread the sound laterally a bit more. Little solid-state amps are convenient on smaller gigs but, with a band, you can get a situation where the bass player has just asked you to turn up and the sax player is asking you to turn down.

I do have a little pedal board if the gig requires it, but I’m increasingly inclined just to plug straight in. Effects can be interesting, but it isn’t my specialism to be honest.

The unattainable dream would be a Florentine-cutaway L5 like that one Wes gave to Ted Dunbar, through a Fender Twin. The L5 is unattainable because, well, they’re unattainable! Meanwhile, the amps are easily come by, but I can’t lift one!

JGL: LOL…join the club! 🙂 Any preference to strings, picks and that sort of thing?

JT: I’ve used Thomastik-Infeld GB strings for years, but I’m not hugely fussy, other than that I do prefer round to flat wounds. I am a bit of a fusspot with picks, though. I use those wide, thick Jim Dunlop 208 JD Jazztone ones and, once the maker’s name is worn off, I bin them. After that, the point gets worn down and I start mis-articulating things.

JGL: You have probably been asked this question a lot…but…do you find that there is a difference between American audiences and European audiences in response to both the music and the players involved?

JT: Well, having yet to actually perform in the USA in person (I’d love to change that one day), my contact with Americans has mostly been either online, or through collaborations with visiting musicians. Of course, we have had some US students at Leeds Conservatoire and I’ve also had a long association with the website Mike’s Masterclasses, which has brought me into contact with a lot of wonderful people on your side of the pond. Now, I know you as well…

Maybe I’ve just been lucky but most of the Americans I’ve met, yourself included, have radiated a deep love for the music and been very keen to share or collaborate in some way. That kind of positivity is so important. We live in a world of clickbait videos where people can get attention simply by trashing things or attempting to manufacture controversy. I’m so glad there are folk on both continents who want to do something for the greater good of the art form.

JGL: Speaking of which…are there any “across the pond” Jazz Guitarists that we should be checking out?

JT: Yes, we’re knee-deep in amazing players in the UK! Besides those I’ve mentioned above (or that I know you’ve featured already) there’s Jim Mullen, Mike Walker, and Mike Outram; long-established artists that are amongst my personal favourites. Then, of course, there’s another generation of incredible younger players, like Ant Law, Rob Luft, and Tom Ollendorff, amongst others. Really scary!

JGL: I’ll definitley need to check those players out in due course and thanks for the heads up. You know, almost every musician, no matter their level and professional stature has their own insecurities to deal with when it comes to music and playing their instrument. What, if any, insecurities do you face on your instrument and how do you work at getting over them?

JT: Quite right, and I think what you said there is half the battle, i.e. recognizing that everyone faces the same thing! It’s hard to talk about specific musical insecurities, just because there isn’t a single area of music that I wouldn’t like to be better at. At the same time though, we don’t all need to be able to play everything – music would be pretty boring if we always could do each other’s gigs.

I think in the end, you have to work as hard as you can, whilst trying to be true – and kind – to yourself in the process. It’s much easier to recommend than to do, though.

JGL: I would tend to agree. On the other side of the coin, do you find the business side of being a Jazz musician distracting or should the playing be left to the player and the business side of things be left to the managers and agents? Do you have a manager or agent or is it all a one-man operation?

JT: Other than in very exceptional circumstances, I’ve never really reached a level where managers and agents have got involved – it’s all just me. The business/promotional side of music is a distraction, I guess, but it has to be done. I’m sure most musicians would love someone else to do all that for them, but you’ve got to be raking in some serious bread to be able to sustain that. Also, I’d imagine it’s rather like hiring an accountant; it’s great, but you’re still held responsible if things go wrong!

A quick word here for all the amazing volunteer promoters who keep the grass roots jazz scene alive worldwide – where would we all be without them?

JGL: A nice shout-out indeed and well deserved! As we begin to wind this interview down, do you have any advice for the younger guy or gal who is thinking about becoming a Jazz Guitarist?

JT: Do it – start now! If it’s past your bedtime, start tomorrow…

JGL: Good advice! If you don’t mind sharing, have you ever had second thoughts about your choice to have music as a career and if so, what other career path do you think you would have followed had you not been a guitar player.

JT: Yes, I’ve had second thoughts at times – again, I suspect most people do, if they’re honest. Goodness knows what else I would have done though. I quite like writing and finding things out, so maybe some kind of journalism? It would need to be the right gig though. I don’t think I’d want to accost grieving relatives on their doorstep or confront dangerous criminals.

JGL: Totally understood! If you had to do one thing over again, what would it be and why?

JT: If I started over now, I think I would try to make my lifestyle a bit more eco-conscious. Obviously travel (including by car) is inevitable for musicians but, nevertheless, I’m not entirely comfortable with the mileage I end up doing. Some of it could have been avoided if I’d been located somewhere else but, for various reasons, that would be very difficult to do now. I didn’t give a second’s thought to anything like that when I was starting out, but I definitely would do today.

JGL: Mother Earth thanks you for the consideration 🙂 Now…when you’re not on the band-stand or in the class-room – be it virtual or physical – what do you like to do to unwind?

JT: I am absolutely addicted to cryptic crosswords. I also love sports, especially football (soccer) and cricket. The latter, for American readers who may not know, is what baseball would be like if you took five days over it and stopped regularly for meal-times. I know…we’re a strange nation…

JGL: LOL…no comment! 🙂 As we near the end of this interview, what is one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?

JT: There’s probably quite a lot in my playlists that would surprise people actually. Of course, I love jazz and classical music dearly, but I’m not one of these ascetics who won’t allow themselves to listen to anything else; I’m down for a disco singalong any time! Indeed, on one of my two (non-professional) visits to the USA, my rendition of “Marie’s The Name” by Elvis won me a karaoke competition. Somewhere in Massachusetts, I think it was. I doubt they remember.

JGL: LOL…you may have missed your calling sir! 🙂 One last thing before we sign off if you don’t mind…what does the future hold for Jamie Taylor?

JT: In the short-term, teaching is winding down a bit for this year now, but it’s looking like quite a busy summer of playing and recording coming up to take its place. There are various projects coming up with lots of different people (some confirmed, some still in the works), and I’ll be updating my website, as soon as various things get nailed on. We’ll also try and take a short holiday somewhere in amongst it all, and definitely visit family before it’s back to school.

As for the long-term, I have absolutely no idea – that’s the beauty, and the challenge, of being a musician! I just hope I can keep going and enjoy the journey.

JGL: Wonderful! Thank you Jamie for taking the time to chat with Jazz Guitar Life. All the best in all that you do!

JT: You’re most welcome Lyle, and the very same to you. I’m flattered that you’ve taken some time to research what I’ve been up to, and the work you’re doing to bring attention to all of us is hugely appreciated. Thank you very much indeed.

JGL: Thank you Jamie, it’s my pleasure!

Please consider spreading the word about Jamie and Jazz Guitar Life by sharing this interview amongst your social media pals and please feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you 🙂

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About Lyle Robinson 338 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.

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