Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Taylor, Thomas (Thomas E. Taylor, Jr.)

Taylor, Thomas [Thomas E. Taylor, Jr.], drummer and composer; b. Elizabeth City, NC, 10 August 1967. He was born to Thomas Sr. (b. 1938) and Mazel M. McPherson (1940-1985). Hailing from a musical family of sisters and singers, (Wanda b. 1959; Lynn b. 1961; Paula b. 1962; Della b. 1964; Jacinta b. 1978), the drums chose Thomas at a young age.

He began playing for his church by age 8. By age 15 Thomas was playing in many choirs and a professional gospel quartet. He became a student and musical leader while attending Northeastern High School. Upon Graduating High School, Thomas was recruited by Dr. Cort McClaren to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He studied classical percussion at UNC at Greensboro and graduated with an education degree in 1991. While there, Thomas was very active musically. He played and recorded the Neo-Black Society Gospel Choir (Oh! Majesty 1988). He also started playing jazz in the University jazz band and combos and fronted a quartet (In The Black) with bassist John Brown. After Graduation, Thomas met musical director Rahn Coleman while auditioning for the National Black Theatre Festivals' production of "Blues in the Night". They began a working relationship and friendship that allowed him to tour the U.S. and Japan with the Broadway musical featuring Carroll Woods, Roz Ryan, Oba Babatunde, Freda Payne, Alan Weeks and Dennis Rowland.

Jazz artists, Percy Heath, bs., Cedar Walton, pno., Bill Charlap, pno., Mark Levine, pno., Tom Browne, tpt., Mark Whitfield, gtr., Eric Alexander ten. Sax., Don Braden, ten.sax., Fred Wesley, tbn., Nell Carter, vcl., Kevin Mahogany, vcl., and Vanessa Rubin, vcl., are some who perform in North  and South Carolina and call on him to perform.

Thomas began his teaching career at "The Greensboro Music Academy." There he taught private drum set lessons as well as small jazz combos. In 1995 he became the chair of "The Jazz Education Center", bringing great jazz artist like Reggie Workman, bs., Jim Snidero, alt. sax., and Jamey Aebersold, alt. sax. to help educate the more than 50 Jazz students studying at the school. Thomas then started teaching with Jamey Aebersold in 1995 with his summer Jazz Camps. He started teaching at NCCU in'96, UNC-CH in '01, and UNC-G in '03. He maintains his teaching schedule at all 3 Universities as well as the Aebersold Summer Jazz camp and The John Coltrane Summer Jazz camp (Held in High Point, NC). While teaching and performing at these Universities, Thomas has shared the stage with Kenny Garrett, alt. sax., Byron Stripling, tpt., Grady Tate, vcl., Slide Hampton, tbn., Dan Hearle, pno., and many others.

Currently, Thomas makes his home in Raleigh, NC and is married to Yuko Nogami and they have 2 children (Malik Godwin, Kinopi Godwin).

Introducing Thomas E. Taylor Jr.

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