The Wellton SMooth Jazz Venue will be rocking through the small desert town Saturday. The event, which helps raise money for public school music education progrqams, will feature Ed Taylor, a Yuma native and well-known jazz musician. "I want to play...creative music, that can uplift the lives of everyday people," Taylor says on his web site.  The jazz festival will feature booths with arts, crafts and food, as well as the live music.  The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Wellton City Park, 10234 Dome St.  Tickets are $4 per person or $10 per family.  Fifteen percent of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the music programs and another 15 percent will be given to disaster relief funds, including aid for Haiti.  For more information, call 255-8998 or 315-2597.  "Nobody knows we are here out in Wellton and we want to promote all the local businesses here," said event organizer Dena Brown.  "There will be live jazz music and there will plenty of school events.  Its is just fun to get the community together to come and enjoy themselves." 

Taylor said his close proximity to the military bases influenced his taste in music. "I had an aunt who often dated servicemen and they would bring over jazz records. I loved listening to them.  In Arizona at the time, there was a lot of blues, funk and country."  When Taylor was 13, he received a guitar from his boss at work and made a demo at a local record store.  He then began to play professionally.  "I played at a lot of fun little clubs in Arizona and Los Angeles, the chitlin circuit that was in the Southwest.  It was exciting and we mostly poerformed fun funk and rock."

Taylor later moved to Washinton, where he attended Tacoma Community College and the University of Washington.  After graduating, he began working with trombonist Dan Daglow, eventually ending up in Los Angeles, where he worked as a session musician.  "I lived in Los Angeles for 12 years and did a lot of background work for Motown, often recording arrangements by Kim Richmond with a rehersal band.  The stars would record over what we had played.  After a time, I realized that I wasn't going to become one of the Marvin Gayes or Michael Jacksons, but I did learn a lot on the technical side during that period, which has helped me produce my own CDs.  I also developed as singer/songwriter and I learned a lot about jazz and life from players such as Ray Brown and Jack Sheldon."

In 1983 Taylor moved back to Tacoma and stopped performing live. "After a period outside of music, around 1990 my wife persuaded me to return to performing since I use to sing and play the acoustic guitar around the house.  So I took a chance, performed at a local bar, and the people went wild. I went out and bought some gear, started working as solo guitarist  and different people were attracted to what I was doing.  Musicians started sitting in with me and that's how the TaylorMade band was formed."

The group's debut album, which mostly featured famous jazz standards was called "Good Is Good." Since then, the group has expanded from a trio into a septet.  The group released another original album called "TaylorMade" in 2005.  Taylor said his group is a conglomeration of differnent music styles. "We segue between jazz, rhythm and blues, smooth jazz, funk, rock and blues.  If you don't know the blues, you can't play anything else.  My band knows the blues!"  The TaylorMade band is in the process of creating a new DVD and a  CD titled "Songs From A Taylor."  For the future we hope to travel, record more CDs, play festivals and perform the music we loved before more and more people, Taylor said.

Chris McDaniel can be reached at cmcdaniel@yumasun.com or 539.6849

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