Friday, October 12, 2012

My Musical Life Timeline Since 1979

Here's a look back over the musical years of my career skipping around the planet.

This is a work in progress; by no means is it finished.
This is a draft.

If you remember something that you think should be here let me know at

Begins viola lessons at Maplewood Elementary School


My dad takes me to hear Austin jazz at a club called Piggys on Congress. (now its Manuels)
Hear's Gene Ramey at Chez Fred

Met Cellist John Loutzenhiser as a freshmen at Austin High
Heard Mitche Watkins with Stephen Zirkel at Symphony Square
Orchestral Director Corky Robinson at Austin High is also Jazz Band director
John Loutsenhieser is the guitarist in the jazz band and cellist in the orchestra
Meet Saxophonist James (Elias) Haslanger and Drummer Chris Searles.

These two along with bassist Stephen
Zirkel form the core of my first band which records first album later.



Audits a Jazz Improv Class with Stewart Gourd

Graduates from Austin High School
Accepted to New England Conservatory of Music to study with Walter Trampler
Begins viola performance study with Donald Wright at UT Austin
Jeff Helmer starts teaching at UT

Starts band "Stream of Consciouness" and then "The Stream" with Austin guitarist Clay Moore

Will Taylor Jazz Quartet plays for keynote address of SXSW.

Living in home in Travis Heights Austin Texas working on delapidated old house in exchange for rent.
Remember hitting up free happy hour buffets to cut down on food costs.

Joins band called "Color" with Joey Grundl
Helps write arrangements and hires local jazz friends to play on first album: Martin Banks, Alex Coke, Chris
Searles, and Dave Morgan

For first "Jazz" String Quartet with cellist John Loutzenhiser, Violins: Doug Tabony and Catherine Beeson
Spent hours arranging many charts for the jazz quaret including
"Fables of Faubus", Well you needn't, alice in wonderland and original pieces Weminuche wilderness
This is the year I discover the Turtle Island String Quartet and write them a letter

First Liveset Appearance on KUT 90.5

Successful Audition for Austin Lyric Opera. Begins 23 years with opera orchestra.


"Bob and Dave" premired by Creative Opportunity Orchestra in Austin in the ACL Studio and in San Antonio

". . . Will Taylor is a serious composer who bridges classical and jazz traditions. His "Bob and Dave" partakes of Stravinsky and Ravel without really imitating them, yet is a full-fledged jazz composition for string quartet and jazz band."  Mike Greenberg - San Antonio Express-News

Turtle Island String Quartet invites me to come do a live performance audtion with them.
After doing a series of kids shows in California they ask me to help fill in for a very important gig for them. I go to Oakland California and stay at Darol Angers home to rehearse and be grilled by the Turtles. ASTA is having a conference in San Francisco at the time and I meet mandolinist Mike Marshall. Meet David Brin from Strings Magazine and Darol write
a short piece on me and one of my jazz viola solos.
The gig turns out to be a very important performance at Town Hall in New York City which is broadcast on NPR and recorded live for CBS Sunday Morning. Jazz pianist Dr. Billy Taylor interviews me along with the other three members of Turtle Island. The whole experience was a sureal whirlwind.

After making jazz viola my nose to the grinestone passion for the past 7 years, I get a dream job doing it.

After the show at Town Hall, I meet Tony Triscka and go to a party at a composer's home that's wrote a concerto for Eric Clapton and Orchestra. ??? I remember talking about being in love and how Tony seemed to be with his wife at that time.

After returning to Austin, TISQ asks if I can join them for a once in a lifetime kind of tour. They want to
know if I'd like to go to Alaska with them in February. We play a show for over 3500 at the Center for the Arts in Ancorage first and then fly in sized planes to Kodiak Island, Kenai, Homer, and finally Nomb right at when the Ididerad is happening.
After returning I do a show in Madison, WI and Champagne, IL. My cousin Paul is working on his PHD there and takes me on a tour of a giant super computer which was hooked up to the internet.


I sign a record deal with Amazing Records and release first record called Reel Life. (links)

We tour all over the place: Jazz festivals in Canada, the Northwest, Colorado

3 night stand in Tuscollosa Albama with jazz great Eddie Harris. What a lesson in rhythm and confidence.
That year Eddie Harris records Hand Jive with John Scofield and shortly thereafter dies of cancer.


Will Taylor Trio: Stephen Zirkel, Rez Abassi, Will Taylor

Jazz Winnipeg
Calgary Jazz City
Saskatoon Jazz
Edmonton Jazz Festival - Played a series of shows in a Planateriam with my original music
Friday Harbor, WA

Daughter Kenda Taylor is born
Meet David Rice in Austin Texas and write string quartet arrangements for a debut album he's putting together. We
play a house concert for record execs. during SXSW and he's signed to Columbia Records

Simple Gifts released by Igmod (itunes / spotify link)

David invites me to Bath England to record on his debut album at Peter Gabriel's studio One World. I finished writing the String Arrangments and helped set up the string sessions. Played viola, wrote the individual parts for "Telephone" "I See You"
I spend one week hanging out with David in a beautiful farm converted into a studio with artist cottages. I meet Peter Gabriel for dinner and he invites us out to a pub to hear an artists he's gromming. We go out to the pub, after I walk in Peter Gabriel asks if I'd like a beer, he brings the beer back and we listen to Joseph Arthur and his spellbinding one man looping show.

At the same time, Lorenna McKennit is recording an album in the upstairs studio.

We all share dinner, lunch, and breakfast together.
This is one of the other times I felt truly realized as a musician. Like I had arrived and I get to finally focus
my entire energy on creating. We got to work with Peter Gabriels Engineer/Producer. The one who did the album ____________
Worked with and met David Rhodes

Show with Ian Moore at rock festival in Lakeway opening for James Brown

Live from Austin release by Cymekob. Jazz standards featuring Elias Haslanger sax, .....
(itunes / spotify link)

I got to New York City to play promotional shows with David Rice for his Columbia records release. Rick Ojesick of the cars in on one of the shows and I hear Shawn Colvin's Grammy Winning "A Few Small Repairs" play as we wait
to go on.

She too is on Columbia. Everything seems aligned and going the right way.
On that trip I visit the top of the twin towers.

SXSW Showcase: WILL TAYLOR: Unless you're a hardcore Jean Luc-Ponty fan, stringed instruments such as the violin and the viola are not the first thing you think of when the term jazz is mentioned. However, jazz doesn't refer to a particular pantheon of instruments but rather to a style of playing. And jazz music is what you'll hear when such compositions as "Raga" are brought forth from the bow. (Elephant Room, Midnight) -- David Lynch 


Show with Toni Price

SXSW: WILL TAYLOR GROUP: Having done a Tuesday night residency at the Caucus Club over the past couple of months, Austin composer and viola/violin master Will Taylor should feel right at home at the Caucus with his lean, mean backup trio, featuring Glen Rexach on guitar. Going from Ellingtonia to fusion in the kick of a bass drum, Taylor & Co. can smoke just as easily as they can soften it up and get smoky. (Caucus Club, 12:45am) -Raoul Hernandez

Live review:
Caucus Club, January 6
On a cold, wet, miserable Tuesday, while piano music emanating from a speaker in a tree of the Caucus Club's upper deck battled a funky wah-wah guitar rising up from a radio in an open window of Club DeVille next door, Will Tayor & the Jazz Menagerie were inside, downstairs playing menagerie music -- warm, intimate, and a perfect accompaniment to the fireplace in the next room. With or without the fire, this occurrence happens every week at this Red River speakeasy -- a carriage house from the 1850s -- the one with $225 bottles of champagne and Macanudo cigars on the menu. Already on the second of the evening's three one-hour sets, Taylor and his three backers played to a small, empty room of mirrors, wood paneling, and red. Stretching out on his preferred instrument, the viola, Taylor naturally evoked chamber jazz, the only difference being that for this fusion you needed earplugs. Inviting guest Kamram Hooshmand and his oud onstage for a trio of tunes (Taylor inserts different elements into his free weekly shows), "Road to Kenai" began as a long, dusty trek into the Iranian desert -- slow and hypnotic -- and ended up a sandstorm somewhere near "Kashmir" with guitarist Glenn Rexach ripping into his instrument, while drummer Brad Evilsizer pounded out rhythms. Duke Ellington's "Caravan," featuring a long, engaging solo by Taylor followed, hitting fever pitch in this room with high stone walls and excellent acoustics. "Ragga," one of Taylor's original compositions ("This is Middle Eastern set," he joked), ended the set with a similarly dense and powerful groove. A manager freaking out convened the band's last set 30 minutes later, and as she stamped her foot for music ("Why aren't they playing?"), Taylor and company whipped into Pat Metheny's "Third Wind," seguing into "Footsteps," and winding back to the famed guitarist's tune 15 minutes later, the storm having been exhilarating (sounding like prime Sixties era Santana in one spot). Not to be outdone, Tuesday night Caucus Club frequentee, Connie Kirk, got up onstage at Taylor's urging and belted -- and I mean, belted -- out a couple of tunes, including "Stormy Monday." Fantastic. Taylor and the Menagerie finished the evening cooking up a little "Chicken," and really, that was about the only thing missing from this evening -- a fine meal. -- Raoul Hernandez

GreenElectric is released featuring Will's arranging and viola playing. Chonicle Review 


Strings Attached is formed with violinists Cathlin Reese, Javier Chaparro and cellist Shawn Sanders
First show with Sara Hickman at Caravan of Dreams and then La Zona Rose

Taylor presented Strings Attached in a series of interactive educational shows called "American Roots" (1999-2004) as performed at over 20 Austin-area public schools that exhibited various composers and musical styles that comprise the "roots" of American music.  (link to photos on

8 1/2 Souvenirs Twisted Desire (RCA/BMG) features Taylor arrangements and string playing. (Met Chris Gage at this session. He was producing)


Strings Attached begins Collaborations Concert Series Season One at First English Lutheran Church, Austin, TX.  (include links to photos below)
  • Ginger Mackenzie
  • Darden Smith
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard
  • Slaid and Eliza
  • Patrice Pike
  • Sara Hickman
 Will Taylor with Strings Attached released feat. Ian Moore, Sara Hickman and original music by Taylor and Sanders. (links to spot and itunes)


Collaborations Concert Series Season 2 moves to St. David's Church,  Austin, TX
  • Guy Forsyth
  • Michael Fracasso
  • Jimmy La Fave
Broadcasts Vol. 10 fea. SA with Ray Wylie Hubbard


I awake to a dream email from one of my musical heroes Shawn colvin.
Shawn Colvin hears my work with Eliza Gilkyson on a live KUT radio broadcast apparently loves it and asks if we'd like to accompany her for a show she's doing with Stephen Mills and Ballet Austin

Collaborations Concert Series Season 3
  • Tish Hinojosa

SXSW Show at Texas Union Theater
  • Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, Michael Fracasso, Slaid Cleaves, Abra Moore, Guy Forsyth, Patrice Pike, and Kellye Gray

Collaborations Concert Series Season 4
  • Chip and Carrie Rodriquez
Ruthie Foster releases Stages with several SA cuts mixed by Will Taylor. Review


Collaborations is released by Heart Music featuring performances by:
(itunes / spotify link)

KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 13 features Strings Attached with Eliza

Collaborations Concert Series Season 5


Strings Attached Collaborations Concert Series Season 6


Strings Attached Collaborations Concert Series Season 7

 Strings Attached Collaborations Concert Series Season

Strings Attached plays the opening of the Long Center with Nakia and more. (pics)


Pearl Jam calls Strings Attached to back them on several acoustic numbers for the last ACL TV show at the original  UT Austin Location

Strings Attached Collaborations Concert Series Season 9


Strings Attached Collaborations Concert Series Season 10

Woody's Greens premiered by Tosca String Quartet at Fusebox Festival Austin.


House of Wills released.
  • Will Taylor and his strings step outside their comfort zone and into what they dub the House of Wills, interpreting the songs of Willie Nelson in the style of Bob Wills. As with all of Taylor's projects, the musicianship is top-notch and the spare arrangements are superb - Austin Chronicle

Notable Shows
  •  Kerrville Folk Festival Mainstage 40th Anniversary Show with David Amram
A Mandolin Christmas release by Will Taylor and Karen Mal.
  • On the opposite side of what a Christmas LP could be is Karen Mal & Will Taylor’s A Mandolin Christmas. Find on it traditional songs performed in a manner so stately one can almost feel the Christmas morning frost. Mal’s mandolin and Taylor’s guitar go jazzy at times, but this is as old-fashioned as it gets these days and it just might be my favorite of the year.


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