About the Band
Harry-Taylor Jazz (H-T Jazz) is the latest offswing/offspring of the Ferndale Community Concert Band and a younger sibling of the already recognized M-1 Jazz Collective. Harry-Taylor Jazz was established by Harry Taylor, Band Leader, in 2023. T-M Jazz stands on the shoulders of Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. In addition, H-T Jazz is building on the strong legacy of improvisation carried on through Miles Davis' Combo and Art Blakey, and the Jazz Messengers right up to the recently departed Wayne Shorter.
Our Band Leader
Harry Taylor, leader of Taylor-Made Jazz, inherited his passion for music. His grandmother was teaching piano until just a few months before she died at age 84. His parents met as teenagers while playing in a Detroit youth orchestra. Dad played trombone and Mom violin. She also studied voice. During the 30s they performed with big bands while holding down day jobs.
Harry got his start studying piano with his grandmother. He was also in the junior choir at Central Woodward Christian Church in Detroit. His mom was the soprano soloist with the adult choir. As they drove to church from Wyandotte on Sunday mornings, she would warm-up with tunes from the Great American Songbook. Everyone sang along.
Starting on trumpet in 5th grade Harry switched to trombone in 7th grade. In junior high he had his first pay gigs, playing with the Conrads, a 9-piece band that kept busy with weddings and various parties and dances. A music major at Albion College his playing served him well.
The day after graduation in 1966 he had his physical for the U.S. Army. Rather than 2-years carrying rifle, he auditioned for the 5th Army Band at Fort Sheridan just north of Chicago. He passed the audition and enlisted for a 3-year tour as a musician. After a year with the 5th Army Band, he was transferred to the Band of the Pacific at Fort Smith, about a 15-minute drive from Waikiki. After just one year with the band he was transferred again to Schofield Barracks where was enlisted as the director of the Soldiers’ Chorus.
He was discharged and his first full day of freedom in 3-years was July 4th, 1969. He played gigs in Hawaii for the next 7-months before returning to the Detroit area in 1970. After a 45-year vacation from trombone he started again in 2016 so he could play at Albion’s Homecoming. Two weeks after homecoming he joined the Ferndale Community Concert Band and has enjoyed reengaging with his musical roots. In early 2023, Harry founded Taylor-Made Jazz, which performed their first gig at the March FCCB concert. Harry serves as the band leader and looks forward to the group’s growth.