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John Taylor, British Pianist, Dead at 72

Suffered heart attack while performing in France

John Taylor
John Taylor

John Taylor, a British pianist who was a major figure on the European jazz scene for more than four decades, died July 17. He suffered a heart attack while performing at the Saveurs Jazz Festival in Segré, France. Although he was resuscitated at the venue, Taylor succumbed after being taken to a hospital. He was 72.

Best known for his long association with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, who died last year, Taylor brought classical music sensibilities to his piano playing. He was often compared to Bill Evans in his precise choice of notes and his harmonic sophistication but employed unusual jagged rhythms that gave Taylor his own signature style. In a 2007 JazzTimes review, Thomas Conrad called him “probably the best pianist in England” and an “improviser with a highly developed sense of form and narrative.”

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