Otis Taylor - Bio


  Otis Mark Taylor was born in Chicago in 1948 to Otis and Sarah Taylor. In the early 1950s the Taylor family moved to Denver Colorado. One of young Otis' favorite neighborhood hang-outs was the Denver Folklore Center. He bought his first instrument there, a used ukulele. A banjo and harmonica soon joined the collection. He started his first group "Butterscotch Fire Department Blues Band" in 1964.

In 1969 London called. Blue Horizon Records had signed him to a recording contract. He liked the London scene but his unique song-writing style didn't gel with the arranger the record company assigned to the project. Frustrated, Taylor returned to Colorado. His next project "T&O Short Line," was a combo with the legendary Tommy Bolin of Deep Purple.

In 1977 Taylor retired from the music business, and for the next two decades ran a successful antiques dealership in Colorado. Taylor often jammed with friends and family, but did not perform in public.

After years of prodding from his musical mentor Kenny Pasarelli (Elton John, Stephen Stills, Joe Walsh), Taylor finally returned to performance in 1995. In an intimate room in Boulder Colorado, he was joined onstage by Pasarelli and ace guitarist Eddie Turner. This trio would go on to perform as the Otis Taylor Band for the next 6 years. A magazine writer on hand reported: "
The combination was magic, Taylor's unique singing style blended perfectly with Pasarelli's rock steady virtuosity Turner's rock-roll tinged riffs." Subsequent independent releases Blue Eyed Monster and When Negroes Walked The Earth turned heads in the blues scene and won Taylor critical acclaim.

Otis Taylor signed with NorthernBlues Music in early 2001, and released the ground-breaking
White African (2001) and Respect the Dead (2002). These two recordings would put Taylor on the map as one of the most original blues artists to emerge in recent years.
Mojo magazine in the UK writes, "
Rural, urban, universal-Taylor is destined to be one of the blues greats."
  • White African earned four 2002 W.C. Handy nominations and was awarded "Best New Artist Debut"

  • Taylor was awarded a fellowship to the Sundance Institute Music Composers Laboratory

  • Blue Star Guitar company introduced the Otis Taylor special edition electric banjocaster

  • Respect the Dead garnered two 2003 Handy nominations, for "Contemporary Blues Album" and "Best Acoustic Artist"

  • Is currently an instructor for the Blues in the Schools "Writing the Blues" series