Goodbye John Taylor

I recently read a book called The Silent Pulse, in which George Leonard, the book’s author, explains a concept he calls holonomy, in which huge chunks of information are contained within smaller microcosmic forms. Our fingerprints or heartbeats contain information about our entire being. A single spoken word contains countless layers of emotion and meaning. This can equally be applied to someone’s musical language or essence.

For me, John Taylor epitomised this concept of holonomy, where every ounce of his musical language somehow expressed part of a great whole that he had seemingly infinite access to. His approach to music was all encompassing, and he was always the most encouraging and warm person and teacher.

I studied under John at the University of York, and playing music with him there remains one of the single most inspiring and educational experiences of my life. He emanated knowledge and beauty, and communicated this through the music, whatever the situation. The way he played reinforced the point that music is an abstract form of communication, and this was what made him so magical and wise. He was able to communicate in the most beautiful way with everyone that came into contact with him, whether performer or listener.

We probably only had a handful of conversations outside of more formal situations, but I, like all the musicians that knew him, even briefly, was moved beyond words by his loss. This is my attempt now to write a homage to the most astounding and inspiring musician I think I will ever have the fortune to know. Goodbye John, and thank you for all that you left behind.
Tributes to John: