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Mark Taylor | Circle Squared

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Jazz: Progressive Jazz Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Circle Squared

by Mark Taylor

Could the combination of a righteous rhythm, moving forward from one of four corners to another, and a compelling melody, side winding crab-like round one measure to another, make a compelling case for itself through an hour of shape shifting motion?
Genre: Jazz: Progressive Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Osmium Zamindar & the Fire Demons of Praethor
7:37 $0.99
2. Broken
6:53 $0.99
3. Ten Thousand Things
6:23 $0.99
4. Oni
3:55 $0.99
5. Alexia's Rescue (A Zamindar Groove)
10:26 $0.99
6. Circle Squared
11:54 $0.99
7. Helix
6:44 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
One of the few performers to tackle the notoriously difficult french horn in jazz and improvised music, Taylor's 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 style 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."

A native of Chattanooga, TN, Mark is currently based in New York City. His broad musical background includes performing, composing and arranging. Mark has performed and recorded with an array of modern giants including: Max Roach, McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim, Muhal Richard Abrams and Lester Bowie. As a featured soloist with Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus, he toured throughout the United States, Europe and in Asia. As a member of George Schuller's post-modern big band, Orange Then Blue, Mark participated in a State Department tour of Turkey, Cyprus and Syria. With Circle Squared he has performed at jazz festivals in Finland and Slovenia and at clubs in Austria, Germany and New York City, including Birdland, the Zinc Bar and the Knitting Factory.

In 1997, Mark released "QuietLand" his debut CD on Mapleshade Records. Containing eleven strikingly adventurous compositions (all by Taylor), this CD featured an all-star group including highly-acclaimed piano modernist Myra Melford and legendary bassist Fred Hopkins and laid the conceptual groundwork for the new quartet, Circle Squared.

"Taylor plays French horn boldly and lyrically..."
Bob Blumenthal, Atlantic Monthly

"One might think that the French horn is a strange instrument for jazz, but in the hands of Mark Taylor these thoughts were proved wrong. Taylor and his group had a wonderful common language, a fact that was emphasized in his brilliant solo..."
Marita Nyrhinen



to write a review

Don Williamson

Mark Taylor’s quartet certainly is unlike any other performing in today’s jazz s
Taylor’s compositions on Circle Squared serve as the springboard for exciting improvisations that are as thoroughly unpredictable as they are mesmerizing. The combination of elaborately written compositions, imaginative professionals and the rarely heard voice of the french horn works supremely well. Mark Taylor’s quartet certainly is unlike any other performing in today’s jazz scene.

Charles Walker

"Taylor's range is remarkable, from his muted opening on “Alexia’s Rescue,” to t
Much is made of Taylor’s choice of instrument, and usually mention of Julius Watkins or Tom Varner is not far behind. And while it is indeed impressive how Taylor has made the often-lugubrious horn a flexible means for genuine expression – his range is remarkable, from his muted opening on “Alexia’s Rescue,” to the trombone-like textures of his solo on “Oni,” to his appreciation of the horn’s inherent, rounded quality throughout “Broken” – such single-minded focus is a bit of a shame. Because Circle Squared is far more notable for the compelling structures in which he places his innovations, his embrace of tense opposites and the unique architecture of his lines that pick their way through them. Naturally, his fellow musicians here deserve a great deal of the credit – knowing when to lash out in their own individualized directions and when to corral them – but the overall cohesiveness of the album (the way it zigs and zags but continues marching simultaneously around the same, insistent four corners) is also largely an attribute of the unique sense Taylor has for how to present his unique instrument. Taylor has been an intriguing, if largely underappreciated element in a number of forward-facing ensembles in the past (most notably some of Henry Threadgill’s better groups); Circle Squared is fine evidence that he is ready to strike out on his own with his own engaging music in hand.

John Stevenson

The former Henry Threadgill sideman is more than equipped for the challenge with
French hornist Mark Taylor is not just another French horn player. For one thing, few musicians have dared to take up the instrument, a much trickier customer than its cousins, trumpet and trombone. Derring-do naturally characterises Taylor's musicianship. The former Henry Threadgill sideman is more than equipped for the challenge with a robust tone and strong compositions. The minimalist, somewhat painterly "Broken" is particularly poignant. There is good all-round ensemble playing here with Don Pullen-esque stylings from pianist Myra Melford.