The Eyes of the Masters series is a special class where legendary artists share their experiences, knowledge and insights into the world of music both as an art form and as a business.
“Mr. Taylor is his own entity: one of the most enriching and confusing boundary crossers between composition and improvisation. His art can be hard to reduce. He seems to think of his music as a kinetic act, a ritual of place and ancestry, something that lives in bodies but less so in notation and documents. And this is why his records go only so far in explaining him. His performances are the key to understanding not just his playing but also the poetry he reads in and around the music, and even his physical actions — the way he walks to and away from, and sometimes around, the piano.
But he comes from the jazz tradition. Raised in Corona, Queens, he started out as a Harlem jam-session musician in the early 1950s and talks with intense loyalty about a line of particularly New York-identified piano players: Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Mal Waldron, John Hicks. Always there has been Ellington in his sound, driving and emphatic.”