Chris Taylor's Semicentennial Debut

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AFTER A SHORT STINT AT BERKLEE in 1981, Chris Taylor returned to New York City and began gigging, taking whatever jobs he could get for a few years. "Then I started to do more studio work and writing and a lot of R&B stuff," he says. "I worked with Billy Porter, Grover Washington Jr., Lionel Hampton, Stephanie Mills--I've been around tire block." Taylor was writing music the entire time, but it wasn't until last year that he finally completed the album he'd been wanting to make and he landed a deal with noted jazz fusion label Abstract Logix, proving that if you persevere, it is never too late to get your music out there. "I didn't expect to get a deal as a relatively unknown 50 year-old guitarist," says Taylor. "Being on a label with John McLaughlin, Wayne Krantz, Jimmy Herring, and Alex Machacek, however, is a little like joining the Yankees as the batboy [laughs]."

The music on Nocturnal hints at influences spanning a compositional landscape from the Zawinul Syndicate to Squarepusher to Bill Laswell's Material, and features a heavyweight lineup that includes saxophonist Steve Tavaglione, bassist Ric Fierabracci, drummer Dave Weckl, and keyboardist Scott Kinsey. Taylor's distinctive guitar work is angular, sweet, twangy, funky, and atmospheric in turns--and his melodic phrasing tends to be very horn-like. "I've made a conscious effort to do something different, and part of that has been listening to and trying to emulate horn players." says Taylor. "The guitar players that I really love--Scofield, Holdsworth. Henderson also take a similar approach."

Taylor used several guitars on Nocturnal, including a '67 Fender Strat, a '66 Fender Tele, a Canton Custom, and a Martin D-18 acoustic. …