Jazz buffs worldwide are excited about the new book documenting the life of elusive British jazz composer, pianist and co-songwriter for classic rock legends Cream, Mike Taylor. Titled “Out Of Nowhere”, the biography was written by Italian underground author Luca Ferrari and published by UK's Gonzo Multimedia.
Having rehearsed and written extensively throughout the early 1960s, Mike Taylor recorded two albums for the Lansdowne series produced by Denis Preston: “Pendulum” (1966) with drummer Jon Hiseman, bassist Tony Reeves and saxophonist Dave Tomlin) and “Trio” (1967) with Hiseman and bassists Jack Bruce and Ron Rubin. They were released on Columbia Records UK.
During his brief recording career, several of Taylor's pieces were played and recorded by his contemporaries. Three Taylor compositions were recorded by Cream, with lyrics by drummer Ginger Baker (“Passing the Time”, “Pressed Rat and Warthog” and “Those Were the Days”), all of which appeared on the band's August 1968 album “Wheels Of Fire”. Neil Ardley's New Jazz Orchestra's September 1968 recording “Le Déjeuner Sur L'Herbe” features one original Taylor composition “Ballad” and an arrangement by him of a Segovia piece “Study”.
Mike Taylor drowned in the River Thames near Leigh-on-Sea, Essex in January 1969, following years of reported heavy drug use. He had been homeless for two years, and his death was almost entirely unremarked.
In 2007, the independent record label, Dusk Fire Records, released for the first time “Mike Taylor Remembered”, a 1973 tribute to the musician recorded by Neil Ardley, Jon Hiseman, Ian Carr, Barbara Thompson, and other major modern British jazz players.
And now in 2015, Gonzo Multimedia has published “Out of Nowhere”, the first biography on Mike Taylor written by Italian author Luca Ferrari.
Says Luca, “My book was a real challenge because apart two good articles nothing was known about Mike Taylor, just some dates from his past, often fakes, never verified. Listening his few records (thanks my friend Dave Tomlin) I discovered this wonderful obscure world of sounds, a very rare dimension of intimacy, made of experimentations and great sensibility... In his short artistic life there's a surprising rapid progression (evolution) from standard hard-bop (Horace Silver) style to a temperate free-jazz (with "Trio"), very exclusive and original (personal) also in that greatly original English scene gravitating around the Old Place and the Little Theatre, after that it seems as all the things was told and nothing is left to tell: his personal life, with the painful collapse of his marriage, through the experience of acid (LSD) explodes his middle-class culture and defined a new freaked personality, without roots, personal relations, homes... Last two years was a tragic painful wandering around London, often near Kew and Richmond Park, until his sudden death in the water of Thames... Anyway, thanks to some very good journalists (Richard Morton Jack and Duncan Heining) and a sensitive label owner (Peter Muir) the memory of him is not lost. This book is a sort of reparative way to celebrate his musical genius and to recollect his life.”
Luca Ferrari is an Italian underground writer. He has written several books about folk and rock musicians including Third Ear Band, Pink Floyd, Robyn Hitchcock, Captain Beefheart, Tim Buckley, and Syd Barrett for the main Italian publishers. He has written several articles and reviews for Italian magazines such as Ciao 2001, Vinile, Buscadero, and Rockerilla. He met Syd Barrett in 1986 and contributed to the reunion of the Third Ear Band during the 1980s.
Having run Italian fanzines about Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett since 1979, he worked together with Ivor Trueman (who was running the fanzines The Amazing Pudding and Opel) about a petition in order to allow the release of the album “Opel”. His book “Tatuato sul Muro: L'enigma di Syd Barrett”, published in January 1986, sold well in Italy and was worldwide the first biographical book about the controversial, and at the time even more enigmatic, figure of Syd Barrett.
In 1993 he contributed an essay to the Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) book titled “Stand Up To Be Discontinued. The art of Don Van Vliet” (Cantz edition) and in 2011 he provided expert advice to the book titled “Barrett” (Essential Works Limited, London 2012), edited by Russell Beecher and Will Shutes.
His book about Italian folk music titled “Folk Geneticamente Modificato” (2003) is one of the few contributions ever published in Italy.
And now, Luca Ferrari's new book on Mike Taylor “Out Of Nowhere” is available!