Mike Taylor quoted on "Mojo" last issue...

On "Mojo" issue 295 (June 2018) a piece by Jon Savage titled "Heavy Weather 1968", dedicated to the records that signed the origins of heavy rock, quotes our Mike Taylor in a brief review on Cream's "Crossroads" (published in July 1968).

He writes: "Much of Cream's studio output runs contrary to their blistering live reputation: the eight cuts on the first disc of the era-defining double Wheels Of Fire oscillate between psychedelic pop (White Room), enhanced blues (Politician; Sitting on Top Of The World) and avant-pop experiments like Passing The Time and Pressed Rat And Warthog (written by Ginger Baker in collaboration with the jazz pianist and composer Mike Taylor)..." ("Mojo" page 62).


Radio programme on a Californian FM radio based on "Out of Nowhere"!

Mike Taylor's old friend Michael Burke, who collaborated with me for "Out Of Nowhere", few days ago wrote me this:
"Hi Luca
my friend, Abe Perlstein, here in California, and I are presenting a local feature on Abe's radio show, on November 14 at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time, which is probably 10:30 pm your time. It's based on your biography of Mike Taylor.
I gave Abe a copy of the book, and he called me and asked me to appear on his show, and talk about Mike, and play his music. I just spoke to Abe, and he suggested that you can stream the show at centralcalforniaradio.org and perhaps you could even call in and talk on the show as well. 
Sounds like a great idea... it would complete the circle and give you an opportunity to publicize your book".

Of course I'm honoured by this, and for those who interests into the programme these are some references:
Abe Perlstein, Host
"Tuesday Lunch With Abe"
Tuesdays, 12:00-4:20pm PST
KEBF-FM, 97.3 / KZSR-FM 107.9 The Rock
Streaming at: www.CentralCaliforniaRadio.org 
Fan page: www.Facebook.com/TuesdayLunchWithAbe

Michael Burke promoting the radio programme.


A review on the book.

A recent review from a Russian jazz blog at http://kcin-kcin.livejournal.com/337851.html
Moscowian author Kcin Kcin writes about two books with the same title "Out of Nowhere" and defines "beautiful" both of them.


Just recently Mr. J.J. Timmons, a 'verified' reader at Amazon UK, post a review of the book with just a simple comment: "Sublime!" (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Nowhere-Luca-Ferrari/dp/1908728485/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482397442&sr=8-1&keywords=luca+ferrari ).
Maybe an excess, but I'm very glad and proud of it...


Ron Rubin's personal journal.

Mike Taylor on piano and Ron Rubin on bass.
At some point, me totally run aground with Mike Taylor's enigmatic story, one of the keystone of my writing was the discovery Ron Rubin had a personal journal about that period. Talented Jazz double bass player, pianist and composer (read a good profile of him at http://www.sandybrownjazz.co.uk/profileronrubin.html), he kindly gave me photocopies of it and I had many new references for Mike's life, expecially about the last part of it.
So I'm very grateful of him for this crucial gesture and I tribute now his importance for my book reproducing here below some pages of this precious diary...


Mike Taylor quoted on Kris Needs' article on "Mojo" last issue...

On "Mojo" last issue (# 274, September 2016, page 68), KRIS NEEDS writes a very good article about Graham Bond's controversial life quoting Mike Taylor just in a short passage:

"Underrated, Bond recruited 21-years-old drummer Jon Hiseman, an accountant who'd previously  played with the New Jazz Orchestra. They had been in troduced by British jazz pianist Mike Taylor, with whom Bond would often lodge and take acid (Taylor co-wrote three tracks on Cream's Wheels of Fire, before slipping into LSD-induced madness. His body was found on the beach at Leigh-on-Sea in January 1969), but Hiseman was cut from a different cloth, taking over the band's accounts and insisting his bandleader get off smack".

Apart the fact Taylor co-wrote the Cream's tracks when he was taking LSD, alternating lucidity and madness; Bond didn't lodge often with Mike, because it is documented just one time in 1967 at the Kew's 54, Forest Road flat (finally left to Jon Hiseman).
Then, from the official Death's certificate we know that Mike Taylor's body was found at "Leigh Creek, opposite "Lady Saville" one quarter of mile from the shore", not on the beach... 

Here below you can see two recent pictures of the area where Mike passed away and two old shots  of the Lady Saville.


After having dedicated a very good review to my book on "Record Collector" (read here), the strange thing is that Needs doesn't quote "Out of Nowhere" in any parts of this article...


November 8th, 1968: the last public appearance of Mike at "Jazz is alive & well" festival...

The last documented public appearance of Mike Taylor was on November 8th, 1968 at the London Conway Hall for "Jazz is Alive & Well" festival. As for many other events in Taylor's life that evening was signed by some accidents.
I've told it in my book:

"(...) It's probably the last time Hiseman met Mike, just before the gig the pianist had to play; a trio at the Conway Hall, in Red Lion Square, on November 8th at a Jazz is alive and well festival as the backing band to the New Jazz Orchestra (starting at 7.30 pm, tickets from 5s). It was promoted by the London Jazz Centre in association with the Arts Council of Great Britain.

It was more importantly an act of friendship, that Hiseman and Rubin felt towards Taylor, because they were conscious of the difficulties he now had coming to terms with reality.

Dave Gelly, on stage with the New Jazz Orchestra, was a witness to the evening: “These, I'm fairly sure, were the first jazz events in Britain to be subsidised through the Arts Council and a great deal hung on their success. As far as I remember, the plan for the evening of Friday 8th November was for the NJO play the opening and closing sets (to include `Ballad` and `Study`) and for Mike to have a spot in the middle.
Came the first interval and Mike had not appeared. Howard Riley and Barry Guy, who happened to be in the audience, played the middle set instead. Mike, looking completely out of it, turning up about ten minutes before the end”. [118]

“Mike didn't turn up till just before the end looking dreadful, so we didn't play”, Rubin confirmed in his diary. It will be the last time he will see Mike alive...

At this point it was no surprise that Jazz Journal, reporting the evening, wrote: “The supporting group, the Mike Taylor Trio, failed to appear due to a misunderstanding”. [119]

[118] D. Gelly, Mike Taylor Remembered, 2007 op. cit. Asking Barry Guy about that evening, he replied me: “I must say that this bit of history eludes me! I am sorry not to offer you further information about this occasion. Perhaps Howard would be the best person to help since he has a good archival memory and may have known Mike personally. Obviously I remember his presence on the music scene, but I became involved in the free music with a different set of guys circling around John Stevens and The Little Theatre club. I do not recall Mike being part of this, but I may be wrong. Check with Howard, that’s best”. Even if requested to contribute with a memory about it, Riley never replied. Anyway it's significant that Riley had a two-parts interview for the British Library in 1990 about the history of English jazz, where he told to journalist Andy Simons, that Taylor's two albums produced by Denis Preston were among his favourites ever;

[119] Jazz Journal, December 1968, page 24. The Guardian, reporting the event the day after, wrote: “The Mike Taylor trio, also booked for the concert, never appeared and in their place we had an enjoyable set by Riley, Jon Hiseman (the N.J.O.'s magnificent drummer) and bassist Barry Guy. In this context of free-form trio jazz Guy has no superior and he stole this part of the show...”;

                             The original festival programme recently on sale on EBay


From where "Trio" cover comes...

"After research from the Web, I discovered the sculptor's official site at http://www.jim-ritchie.com but there was no way to contact him. Thanks Massimo Del Chiaro, owner of Fonderia d'Arte Massimo Del Chiaro in Pietrasanta (Lucca), where the artist worked years ago, I obtained an answer from Ritchie: "Yes, I created the record cover for the producer, Dennis Preston and had no contact with the musician". What does his work mean? Ritchie doesn't explain. It's an undeniable fact, anyway, that the drawings seems perfectly summarizes the idea of a compact lump of thoughts and feelings, a concentration of strong emotions, that I feel every time I listen to the record... Interesting to note that in his autobiography titled A Sculputal Life. The Life and Works of Jim Ritchie (Lulu.com, 2012) at page 191 reproduces some drawings, made  in 1966-1974, without titles, all made in the same  style and with similar abstract subjects to that used for the "Trio" cover".
(note #83 of "Out Of Nowhere", pagg. 149-150)

In the meanwhile today my Mike Taylor's biography is come back on Amazon Jazz Best Seller section at 14°...


Two b/w photos taken at the Mike's flat in April 1967.

"Curiously, this poster appears on two b/w photographs taken by Norman Potter on April 12th, 1967 with Barbara Thompson (Jon Hiseman's wife) posing with her sax. Hung on the wall behind her, at the bottom of the “Mike Taylor” we can read: “Modern jazz by the Mike Taylor quintet”... 
“These are newspaper photos of Barbara taken in Mike Taylor’s flat at Kew, but some time after he left, when I was still renting it”, Hiseman reveals. “Probably early ‘67, we think they was taken for the Daily Mirror when Barbara was playing with an all Girl Group The She Trinity who had a minor hit...”".
(note 50 of my book "Out of Nowhere")

Here below are that two photos taken at the Mike's flat: I included the first one in my book, the other was left out. 


Mike Taylor's personal copy of "Trio".

"(...) Anyway, even if recommended for years by Universal, today not even Pendulum is available in the shops, another bitter twist of fate making Taylor's work unobtainable for jazz fans. A work that someone, somewhere, seems to wish vanished with him in the Leigh-on-Sea waters...
All we can do is to embark on a probably fruitless search for one of the few original vinyl copies still around as some years ago Japanese jazz collector Koro Ito did, who has a collection of more than 18.000 long-playing records.
His demise which was likely to have been an accident, holds an unexpected coup de théatre. is really an incredible story, in line with the short history of Mike Taylor's life.
Steve Pank says: “It was when I was working at the Middle Earth Club and Mike Taylor was there. I knew that he had made some records. I said to him if you bring a copy of your record in maybe we can get it played on the sound system. Later he came in and handed me a copy of Trio. I never did get it played, and the next I heard he had committed suicide, so I could not return it”.
So Steve finds a copy of Taylor's album at home, and some years later, in 2013, he finds it again and asks Dave Tomlin if he wishes to have it.
“He replied that he didn't have much storage space and that he had a copy of Pendulum but didn't have a record player so he could not play it. His brother had gone to a lot of trouble to get hold of it for him, so he felt obliged to store it. I made the suggestion that he could sell it on eBay. Later he told me that his brother was quite adept at dealing on eBay and that his copy of Pendulum had been posted. It turned into a bidding war between two gentlemen one in France and one in Japan, and eventually Japanese man bought it for £400-£500”.
At this point Steve decides to sell Trio on eBay...
“Dave took it and sold it to the same Japanese man for around £200, and Dave offered me half of the proceeds. Part of the deal was that Dave would make me a copy on CD. This was the first time that Dave had heard Trio. He was amazed at how good it was...”.
So Koro Ito became the owner of the Trio which had been Mike's personal copy!
He says, “I nearly fell to the floor in a faint when I realised that Mike Taylor had actually touched it”."
(excerpt from my book "Out of Nowhere")

Here's below Mike's personal copy of the record (courtesy of Koro Ito): 



A kind interesting e-mail from producer TONY HIGGINS.

I've received few days ago a very kind and interesting e-mail from Tony Higgins, researcher and executive producer of Mike Taylor's "Trio" (Universal CD edition):

"Dear Luca,
I have just got a copy of your Mike Taylor book, many thanks for writing it.
In 2002-2003 I helped Gilles Peterson compile the 'Impressed' albums, Vols 1 & 2.
For Vol 2, I got "Timewind" from Neil Ardley, and used it on the album, the first time it had been released and wrote some notes on Mike for the sleeve notes.
I sold my copies of "Pendulum" and "Trio" on ebay to a collector in Japan. 

I also met a woman whose late husband was Mike's friend; they were witnesses at Mike's wedding, and he was his best man. She told me about Mike.
I produced the reissue of the "Trio" CD for Universal Impressed Re-pressed series.
I am putting together an album of rare British jazz that will include "To Segovia" from "Pendulum", with new sleeve notes.

I also have a recording of Mike Taylor compositions from the BBC Jazz Workshop recorded at Aeolian Hall, London on Saturday 17 May 1969, featuring Jack Bruce, Jon Hiseman, Howard Riley and others and two more sessions recorded for the BBC: Two Taylor tracks by the New Jazz Orchestra from BBC "Jazz Club" 14.2.71; one Taylor track by Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia from 'Jazz In Britain' 1.4.73.

Are you aware that the New Jazz Orchestra also did a Jazz in Britain session on 19 Oct 1970 which featured mostly Taylor pieces – a group led by Neil Ardley, with Ian Carr, Dave Gelly, Barbara Thompson, Frank Ricotti, Chris Laurence, Mike Travis and Norma Winstone. They played:

"Summer Sounds, Summer Sights" (Taylor, arr B Thompson)
"Land of Rhyme In Time" (Taylor, ar D Gelly)
"Pendulum" (Taylor)
"After Long Silence" (Ardley)
"She Weeps Over Rahoon" (Ardley)
"Will You Walk A Little Faster?" (Ardley)
"Song of Love" (Taylor)
"Jumping Off The Sun" (Taylor)
"Timewind" (Taylor)

NJO at Marquee Club in 1965.
Then there’s another New Jazz Orchestra "Jazz Club" studio (not live) session from 17 July 1968 – their first BBC session I believe:
"Nardis" (Davis, arr Ardley)
"Summertime" (Gershwin, arr Ardley)
"Study" (Segovia, arr Mike Taylor)
"Angle" (Howard Riley)
"Rebirth" (Mike Gibbs)
"Dusk Fire" (M Garrick)

Best regards, Tony"


Tony Tomlin went to Southend-on-Sea cemetery.

Brother of sax player Dave, Tony Tomlin, who helped me with some decisive researches for the book, recently went to cemetery where Mike Taylor's headstone stands...
He sent me some new photos taken there with my (our) book leant on the grave.
He wrote: "I went to the cemetery! Mike's headstone has a serious list now, not helped by an Elder bush which is trying to push him over. Not the easieast angle to take pictures but hopefully one of these will be of interest to you...".

The importance of Tony on the reconstruction of Mike Taylor's biography is most of all to have researched and found the right place of the headstone, when none knew or remembered where it was... 

In this terrible year for the Arts, where so many musicians have passed away, we can only regret a great artist as the young Mike Taylor who dead at only 30 in so strange circumstances... 


A 4 stars review on latest Record Collector Magazine!

On the latest Record Collector (issue 453 May 2016) KRIS NEEDS writes a very good review on "Out of Nowhere". You can read it here below:

The "Record Collector" link to the review is at: http://recordcollectormag.com/reviews/nowhere-uniquely-elusive-jazz-mike-taylor
In the meanwhile yesterday the book has come back on Amazon Best Sellers at 15°, today at 41°...


Original Mike Taylor's colourful drawing.

Here below we have the reproduction of the colourful drawing that Mike gave to Ron Rubin as a gift in 1967, one of the few left.

In the meanwhile "Out of Nowhere" today is ninth on the Amazon UK's Best Sellers Jazz Musicians Biographies section (read here)!


Mike Taylor's original handmade scores.

Written on paper on September 25th, 1964 by Mike Taylor for his friend Trevor Watts with the proposal to rehearsal, these are the scores of "Rama", an unrealised composition never played on live concerts or recorded sessions.
Mike hand drew the staves and everything in neat pen and ink on a thickish tissue type of paper.
The binder was also self made with a stiff orange and clips to keep it all together...
Apart the fact that it is a precious object, it would be a wonderful thing if someone would decide to play/record this unrealised music.