Whether it’s a lilting classical piece, smooth jazz number or even raging hot AC/DC or Stevie Ray Vaughan offerings, when gifted guitar virtuoso John Taylor picks the genre he’s in the mood for, the result is simply magic.
“Over the years I’ve struggled with my identification in terms of what I should call myself professionally,” says the affable 46-year-old musician/teacher. “But after travelling around so much, from my home in South Africa, to Japan and points-in-between all the way here to London, I’m now more comfortable with many genres.
“Much of my work focuses on the classical and jazz spheres but I love tackling a variety of pop music styles. Over the years I’ve been influenced by classic rock, blues and Southern rock so it’s a great feeling to satisfy both my own preferences while reaching out to the tastes of broader audiences.”
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, he completed his Bachelor of Music (classical) degree at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa with guitar as the major instrument. That didn’t mean there’d be any limitations to where his career could take him, so he worked with numerous bands within and outside the pop world.
While at university he played in a popular band with the intriguing name One Large Banana – a unique outfit that enjoyed some Top 20 successes in his native South Africa. That affiliation resulted in a CD that got considerable airplay on national radio stations.
Back home in Cape Town – a city renowned for a jazz festival that lures fans from around the world – he broadened his horizons. Other styles caught his eye, after a while settling into more solo classical and jazz guitar.
Spending three-and-a-half years in Japan, he continued to grow professionally and met his soon-to-be Canadian wife, school teacher Charity. In 2006 the two moved to London and since then Taylor has nurtured an impressive portfolio that has included gigs on the A Channel morning show, Rogers TV, a performance for the University of Western Ontario president and the Live@99 concert alongside some of Southern Ontario’s finest musicians.
“Throughout the year I do a number of private and corporate events, in addition to numerous weddings throughout the region,” he said. “I’ve also been delighted to teach upwards of 20 or more students at any given time, teaching them all manner of styles right from our home. They range in age from about six-years-olds to seniors.
“This coming June I’ll be accompanying the great BC jazz vocalist Edie Daponte for a private gig. Thanks to Filipe Gomez, who is a real patron-of-the-arts, I’ve playing regularly, six or more times a year, at the Aroma Restaurant in London. It’s a great gig because Filipe and the customers are so appreciative and responsive.”
Along the way the couple has greeted two daughters – four-year-old Emlin and one-year-old Cecilia – another source of great enjoyment and personal satisfaction for Taylor and his wife.
“It’s great, very exciting to welcome opportunities here in London and other parts of Canada,” he said. “I no longer worry about what my label as a musician should be, so while I play classical and jazz, which I love, I delve into an ever-growing variety of styles that intrigue me like Flamenco and, as I said, even a little heavy duty rock and blues material from Stevie Ray or AC/DC.
“With a wonderful family life and a career that brings me so much joy, I look forward to future ventures.”
There’s no question that audiences are also eager to join him along his journey of musical magic. For more information catch his online webpage at http://www.johntaylorguitarist.com/.
Photos: Geoff Dale
Geoff Dale is a Woodstock-based freelance writer.