Mark Taylor was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1961, started playing piano at age six, singing in the Chattanooga Boy’s Choir at seven and took up the clarinet at nine, later switching to bass clarinet, then French horn as a teenager. Intent on a career in orchestral and studio playing, Mark studied music at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he was introduced to jazz and to the music of Julius Watkins. He then transferred to the jazz and studio music program, studying with jazz education pioneer Jerry Coker and graduating in 1986. After graduate studies with Dave Holland and George Russell at New England Conservatory in Boston, Mark moved to New York where he has performed and recorded with an array of modern giants and released two CDs as a leader, QuietLand on Mapleshade Records and Circle Squared on his own Taymons Music label.
Mark has performed with orchestras, chamber ensembles, recording ensembles and jazz groups from trios to 30-piece big bands for as long as he can remember. "I’ve worked with jazz legends like drummer Max Roach as a featured soloist and critically acclaimed cutting-edge composers like Henry Threadgill (Very Very Circus) and Muhal Richard Abrams," Mark says. "I’ve been on sessions for pop icons like BeBe Winans and Michael Bolton, recorded for small indie labels like Black Saint and major conglomerates like Sony records and performed in jazz clubs, festivals and concerts from Finland to Syria."
"I see myself as a storyteller," Mark says. "I am a composer and performer and I’ve always felt that a good concert should take listeners on a journey. That you can, in fact, present much more challenging information to an audience if you there’s some sort of narrative involved, whether or not it is explicitly stated. In my writing, I like to create a mood, a feeling in the band and then use my instruments to elaborate, embellish that mood. To use instrumental colour and timbre and range as characters to construct a musical story and allow the listener a little glimpse into the universe that I inhabit."
In addition to his work as a performer, Mark has also been commissioned to compose for theatre and dance, placed two songs in the Dollface Productions independent feature film "The Girl", scored the documentaries, "A String of Pearls", and “9/11: The Forgotten Underdogs”, and created music, sound design and audio post for “Zero Down O.A.C.”, a dark comedy by Canadian filmmaker Aaron Moseson. Mark is currently working on a series of transcriptions of music associated with seminal jazz/ragtime bandleader James Reese Europe’s 369th “Hellfighters” military band for the Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble.
Taylor's Horn sound has been described as "rapturous" and "golden" (Coda Magazine); "as fluid and limpid as (the) flute, and as gnarly as (the) alto." (JazzTimes). His innovative playing has won him recognition by such legendary artists as Max Roach, who said, "Mark Taylor is a virtuoso instrumentalist... there is no one dealing with the french horn or the music the way Mark is doing."