Chad Taylor (drummer)

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Chad Taylor
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Background information
Birth nameChad Edward Taylor
Born (1973-03-19) March 19, 1973 (age 49)
Tempe, Arizona
  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Experimental music
  • Musician
  • Composer
  • Drum Set
  • Percussion
  • Mbira
Associated actsChicago Underground (jazz ensemble, Marc Ribot Trio, Jeff Parker, James Brandon Lewis, Jaimie Branch

Chad Taylor (born March 19th 1973) is an American drummer, percussionist, composer and scholar. Taylor leads the Chad Taylor Trio with Brian Settles and Neil Podgurski as well as Circle Down with Angelica Sanchez and Chris Lightcap. He is a founding member of the Chicago Underground (jazz ensemble) along with Jeff Parker (musician) and Rob Mazurek. A quintessential ensemble player, Taylor has performed with Marc Ribot, Nicole Mitchell (musician), Matana Roberts, Eric Revis, Ken Vandermark, Darius Jones (saxophonist), Fred Anderson (musician), Roscoe Mitchell, Cooper-Moore, James Brandon Lewis and Jaimie Branch.

Early life

Taylor was born in Tempe, Arizona and was brought up in a musical household. His father, once an aspiring concert pianist, exposed his young son to Duke Ellington, Bach, Thelonious Monk, and Mozart.[1] By age 8, Taylor started taking guitar lessons. At 10, he relocated with his mother and sister to Chicago where he continued his studies on guitar as well as starting snare drum lessons. Taylor began studying jazz drumming and classical percussion in Lane Tech College Prep High School in 1988. He took ensemble classes at The Bloom School of Jazz. Through the help and encouragement of bassist Dennis Carrol, Taylor started performing in Chicago with musicians Lin Holiday, Rob Mazurek, Allen Batts and John Brumbach.

Upon graduating from Lane Tech in 1991, Chad received a full scholarship to study classical guitar at Millikin University.[2] After attending his freshman year he decided to focus on jazz drumming and the following year transferred to the School of Jazz (The New School) in New York City. While at The New School Taylor studied privately with drummers Horace Arnold, Chico Hamilton, Joe Chambers, Lewis Nash and Pheeroan akLaff. During this time in New York City he had the opportunity to perform with Kurt Rosenwinkel, J.D. Allen III, and Chris Lightcap.

In 2010, Taylor began studying Mbira with Garikayi Tirikoti, and in 2014 toured France in a project that featured Tirikoti called Digital Primitives African Soul.



In 1997 Taylor moved back to Chicago into an apartment with bassist Joshua Abrams (musician). Abrams introduced Taylor to Fred Anderson who Taylor started performing with regularly at The Velvet Lounge and also to David Boykin who asked Taylor to join his ensemble the Outet with Nicole Mitchell. In addition, Abrams and Taylor started the collective Sticks and Stones with Matana Roberts that hosted the weekly jam session at The Velvet Lounge.[3] Taylor also reconnected with Rob Mazurek. Mazurek invited him along with Jeff Parker to perform at a weekly composers workshop at The Green Mill which eventually developed into The Chicago Underground ensemble.[4]

In 1998 the first Chicago Underground Duo recording, 12 Degrees of Freedom[5] was released on the Thrill Jockey label.[6]

In 1999 Taylor started working with singer/songwriter Sam Prekop and toured with his band from 1999-2002. Taylor was the drummer on the 1999 self titled release Sam Prekop as well as the 2005 release Who’s Your New Professor.[7]


In 2001 Taylor moved back to New York where bassist Tom Abbs introduced him to Cooper-Moore.[8] Shortly there after they formed the collective Triptych Myth. Abbs also introduced Taylor to improvisors such as Daniel Carter (musician), Roy Campbell Jr., Jemeel Moondoc, Sabir Mateen and Andrew Lamb (musician) whom Taylor started to work with regularly at clubs such as The Brecht Forum, Tonic, CBGB and The Internet Cafe.

In 2002, Taylor recorded Titration, his debut as a leader for Delmark Records.[9] The core ensemble consisted of Jemeel Moondoc, Tom Abbs and Steve Swell. The same year Taylor started working with Jeff Parker's Trio with Chris Lopes on bass, releasing Like-Coping in 2003[10] and The Relatives in 2005.

In 2004 Taylor started working with guitarist Marc Ribot in his band Spiritual Unity with Roy Campbell and Henry Grimes. Taylor produced Ribot's 2014 album Live At The Vanguard.[11]

In 2009 Taylor started working with the folk/rock band Iron and Wine and was the toured with the band from 2010-2012. Taylor was the drummer on the 2011 release Kiss Each Other Clean.[12]


In 2011 Taylor began the master’s program in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University under the direction of Lewis Porter. His master thesis was an examination of form and process in the music of Henry Threadgill’s Zooid.

In 2012 Taylor joined a collaboration with Darius Jones (saxophonist), Sean Conly and Alex Harding called Grass Roots (Grass Roots album), They recorded and released their self titled album on AUM Fidelity.[13]

In 2013 Taylor started working with bassist Eric Revis in his Quartet which released Memory of Things Not Seen in 2014, and Sing Me Some Cry in 2017.[14]

In collaboration with cornetist Rob Mazurek and the Sao Paulo Underground, Taylor recorded with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders on the 2014 album Spiral Mercury. [15]

After finishing the masters program at Rutgers University in 2015 Taylor started teaching adjunct classes in music theory, jazz history and music appreciation. He also taught music history at Berkeley College in NYC.[16]

In 2016, Taylor started collaborating with mult-media artist Rosa Barba. Barba designed installations in which film projectors are triggered by the frequency of Taylor's drums. This project has been installed and performed at the New York Armory, The Museum of Modern Art NYC, CAPC Bordeaux France, Rayo Festival Madrid Spain[17], Hangar Bicocca Pirelli, Italy, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and Desert Encrypts in Marfa, Texas. This collaboration also resulted in Taylor producing his solo work Myths and Morals.[18]

Taylor started working with James Brandon Lewis in 2016. The two started performing as a duo and released Radiant Imprints in 2018 and Live in Willisau in 2020.[19] In addition, he joined Jaimie Branch's Fly or Die ensemble in 2016.[20]

In March of 2017 Taylor collaborated with Yo La Tengo for a concert at Town Hall that included Amy Garapic on percussion, harpist Zeena Parkins, guitarist Mary Halvorson, trombonist Roswell Rudd, Vincent Chancey on french horn, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and Daniel Carter on saxophone.[21]

In 2019, Taylor formed a new ensemble with tenor saxophonist Brian Settles and pianist Neil Podgurski. The Chad Taylor Trio released The Daily Biological for Cuneiform Records in 2020.[22]

Personal life

Taylor moved to Philadelphia in 2016 where he currently lives with his wife and 3 daughters.

Notable mentions

Winner of 2020 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll, Rising Star, percussion

Winner of 2020 El Intruso’s International Poll, percussion

Taylor tied with Christian McBride for Player of the Year, Straight No Chaser (magazine), 2020

Included in 2021 Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll, percussion

The Daily Biological by the Chad Taylor Trio was selected in NPR’s jazz critics poll 2020[23]

The Daily Biological by the Chad Taylor Trio was chosen as 2020 Record of the Year by jazz critic Neil Tesser.


As a leader

  • 2003 Active Ingredients, Titration (Delmark)
  • 2009 Circle Down (482 Music)[24]
  • 2018 Myths and Morals (Ears and Eyes records)
  • 2020 The Chad Taylor Trio, The Daily Biological (Cuneiform)

with Chicago Underground

  • 1998 Chicago Underground Duo, 12 Degrees of Freedom (Thrill Jockey)
  • 1998 Chicago Underground Orchestra, Playground (Thrill Jockey)
  • 1999 Chicago Underground Trip, Possible Cube (Delmark)
  • 2000 Chicago Underground Trio, Flame Thrower (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2000 Chicago Underground Duo, Synesthesia (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2001 Chicago Underground Quartet, (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2002 Chicago Underground Duo, Axis and Alignment (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2004 Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2006 Chicago Underground Duo, In Praise of Shadows (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2007 Chicago Underground Trio, Chronicle (Delmark)
  • 2010 Chicago Underground Duo, Boca Negra, (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2012 Chicago Underground Duo, Age of Energy (Northern Spy Records)
  • 2014 Pharaoh and the Underground, Spiral Mercury (Clean Feed Records)
  • 2014 Chicago Underground Duo, Locus (Northern Spy)
  • 2017 Chicago London Underground, A Night Walking Through Mirrors (Cuneiform Records)
  • 2020 Chicago Underground Quartet, Good Days (Astral Spirits)

with James Brandon Lewis

  • 2019 James Brandon Lewis/ Chad Taylor, Radiant Imprints (Offrecords)
  • 2020 James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor, Live in Willisau, (Intakt Records)
  • 2020 Molecular (Intakt)
  • 2021 Red Lilly Quintet, Jesup Wagon (Tao Forms)
  • 2021 Code of Being (Intakt Records)

with Jaimie Branch

  • 2017 Fly or Die (International Anthem)
  • 2019 Fly or Die II, Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem)
  • 2021 Fly or Die, Live in Zurich (International Anthem)

with Eric Revis

  • 2014 In Memory of Things Not Seen (Clean Feed)
  • 2017 Sing Me some Cry (Clean Feed)
  • 2020 Slipknots Through the Looking Glass (Pyroclastic)

with Jeff Parker

  • 2003 Like-Coping (Delmark)
  • 2005 The Relatives (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2012 A Bright Light in Winter (Delmark)

with Fred Anderson

  • 1998 Fred Anderson Quartet Vol 1 (Asian Improv)
  • 1999 Fred Anderson Quartet Vol 2 (Asian Improv)
  • 2003 Back at The Velvet Lounge (Delmark)
  • 2009 21st Century Chase (Delmark)

with Marc Ribot

  • 2005 Spiritual Unity (Pi Recordings)
  • 2014 Live at the Village Vanguard (Pi Recordings)
  • 2018 Songs of Resistance (Anti)

with Nicole Mitchell

  • 2009 Emerald Hills (RogueArt)
  • 2014 The Secret Escapades of Velvet tAnderson (RogueArt)

with Digital Primitives

  • 2007 Digital Primitives (HopScotch)
  • 2009 Digital Primitives, Hum Crackle Pop (HopScotch)
  • 2013 Digital Primitives, Lipsomuch/Soul Searching (Hopscotch)

with Triptych Myth

  • 2003 Triptych Myth (Hopscotch)
  • 2005 The Beautiful (AUM Fidelity)
  • 2018 Triptych Myth with Cale Brandley, Finding Fire (Birdwatcher Records)

with David Lord

  • 2018 Forest Standards Vol 1 (Big Ego)
  • 2020 Forest Standards Vol 2 (Big Ego)

as co-leader

  • 2002 Sticks and Stones (482 Music)
  • 2004 Sticks and Stones, Shed Grace (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2011 Grass Roots (AUM Fidelity)
  • 2013 Side A, A New Margin (Clean Feed)
  • 2014 Side A, In the Abstract (Clean Feed)
  • 2018 A Pride of Lions (The Bridge Sessions)
  • 2021 Time No Changes with Chris Schlarb (Astral Spirits)
  • 2021 Mind Maintenance with Joshua Abrams (Drag City (record label))

as sideman

  • 1998 Loren Connors/Alan Licht Hoffman, Estates (Drag City)
  • 1998 Marya Lawrence, All the Way Back (Oxogen records)
  • 1998 - David Boykin Outet, Evidence of Life on Other Planets Vol 1. (Thrill Jockey Records)
  • 1999 - David Boykin Outet, Evidence of Life on Other Planets Vol 2 (Box Media)
  • 1999 Sam Prekop (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2001 Stereolab, Sound-Dust (Elektra Records)
  • 2002 Brokeback, Looks at the Bird (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2003 Tom Abbs and Frequency Response, Conscription (CIMP)
  • 2003 Jeff Chan In Chicago (Asian Improv)
  • 2005 Sam Prekop, Who’s Your New Professor (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2007 Steve Swell/David Taylor, Double Diploid (CIMP)
  • 2009 Avram Fefer Trio, Ritual (Clean Feed)
  • 2009 The Swell Season, Strict Joy (Anti- (record label))
  • 2009 Tom Abbs, Lost and Found (Engine)
  • 2010. Jason Ajemian, Protest Heaven (482 Music)
  • 2011 Avram Fefer Trio, Eliyahu (Not Two Records)
  • 2011 Iron and Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Bros.)
  • 2012 David Liebman, Surreality (Yellowbird)
  • 2012 Jason Ajemian and Joy Mega, Forever Is Something Inside You (New Atlantis)
  • 2013 Taylor Ho Bynum, Navigation (FireHouse12)
  • 2013 Expoding Star Orchestra, Matter Anti-Matter (RogueArt)
  • 2014 Jason Ajemian, A Way A Land Of Life (NoBuisness)
  • 2015 Exploding Star Orchestra, Galatic Parables Vol 1(Cuneiform)
  • 2016 Mara Rosembloom, Prairie Burn (Fresh Sounds Records)
  • 2017 Psychic Temple, IV (Joyful Noise Recordings)
  • 2017 Yoni Kretzmer, Five (Outlaw recordings)
  • 2018 Anthony Shadduck, Quartet and Double Quartet (Big Ego)
  • 2018 Steve Swell, Kende Dreams (Silkheart Records)
  • 2018 Aruan Ortiz Trio, Live in Zurich (Intakt)
  • 2018 Tom Abbs and Frequency Response, Hawthorne (Engine)
  • 2018 Jason Stein with Hearts and Minds, Electroradiance (Astal Spirits)
  • 2019 Avram Fefer Quartet, Testament (Clean Feed)
  • 2019 Eamon Forgaty, Blue Values (Jealous Butcher)
  • 2019 Rob Brown, From Here to Hear (RogueArt)
  • 2019 Rob Mazurek, Desert Encrypts Vol 1 (Astral Spirits)
  • 2020 Exploding Star Orchestra, Dimensional Stardust (International Anthem)
  • 2020 Mara Rosenbloom, Respiration (Fresh Sounds Records)
  • 2020 Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, Sound Path (Clean Feed)
  • 2020 Joshua Abrams, Represencing (Eremite Records)
  • 2020 Psychic Temple, Houses of the Holy (Joyful Noise Recordings)
  • 2021 Rosa Barba, In a Perpetual Now of Instantaneous Visibility (Corbett/Dempsey)
  • 2021 Alchemy Sound Project, Afrika Love (ARC)
  • 2021 Giovanni Guidi, Ojos de Gato (CAM Jazz)


  1. Baekaard, Jakob. "Chad Taylor: Myths And Music Education". All About Jazz. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  2. Margasak, Peter (26 November 1998). "Making Beautiful Music Together". The Chicago Reader.
  3. Netsky, Ron (8 November 2006). "Matana Roberts". Rochester City Newspaper.
  4. Schatz, Adam (18 March 2001). "MUSIC; Organized Sound From Chicago's Jazz Underground". The New York Times.
  5. Margasak, Peter (15 June 2000). "Chicago Underground Duo". The Chicago Reader.
  6. Ratliff, Ben (14 February 1999). "MUSIC; What Jazz Could Use About Now:'Indie Cred'". The New York Times.
  7. Richardson, Dirk (12 May 2005). "Sea Change / Sea and Cake's Sam Prekop takes a break from postrock for some classic pop songs". SF Gate.
  8. Sharpe, John. "Tom Abbs: Combining Music And Film". All About All About Jazz. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  9. Chinen, Nate. "Active Ingredients: Titration". Jazztimes. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  10. Marsh, Peter. "Jeff Parker Like-Coping Review". BBC. Retrieved 25 February 2003.
  11. Walters, John L (31 October 2011). "Marc Ribot Trio – review". The Guardian.
  12. Simpson, Dave (24 October 2007). "Iron and Wine". The Guardian.
  13. Turner, Mark F. "Sean Conly / Alex Harding / Darius Jones / Chad Taylor: Grass Roots". All About All About Jazz. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  14. Reich, Howard (26 August 2017). "Revis and Vandermark start a storm at Green Mill". Chicago Tribune.
  15. Thomas, Fred. "AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas". AllMusic. All Music. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  16. Baekaard, Jakob. "Chad Taylor: Myths And Music Education". All About Jazz. All About Jazz. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  17. Rivera, Abraham (3 October 2019). "Rayo, el festival de cine que asalta Matadero". El País. El Pais. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  18. Baekaard, Jakob. "Chad Taylor: Myths And Morals". All About All About Jazz. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  19. Lalia, Ammar (July 2020). "James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor Live In Willisau". Downbeat Magazine.
  20. West, Michael J. "Jaimie Branch trumpets a note of fun into avant-garde jazz". All About All About Jazz. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  21. Gawlak, Emily (29 March 2017). "Yo La Tengo Turned Itself Inside Out". Elmore Magazine. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  22. Whitehead, Kevin. "Drummer Chad Taylor Radiates Good Vibrations On 'The Daily Biological'". NPR. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  23. Whitehead, Kevin (8 July 2020). "Drummer Chad Taylor Radiates Good Vibrations On 'The Daily Biological'". NPR.
  24. Turner, Mark F. "Chad Taylor: Circle Down". All About All About Jazz. Retrieved 20 October 2009.

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