Performance at the Limit

Simon Taylor, Guitarist

I grew up in High Wycombe. I started learning music on classical violin at the age of 7, and studied music theory and piano at the High Wycombe Music Centre. It was during this time that my dad played me some records of Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt, and I was captivated by Django's guitar playing. Frustrated with being limited to just reading from music, at the age of 15 I began teaching myself guitar with the aim of playing by ear and learning to improvise. I always liked taking the chords from my favourite pop songs and rearranging them to make up my own music - the beginnings of composing. Over the next few years I progressed as a player and composer.

I after A levels, I started an art foundation course at the LCP, but dropped out to go to Southampton University to study Engineering Acoustics! This was lucky for my guitar playing as I met a number of musicians, and particularly guitarist Simon Jarrett who introduced my to the rigours of jazz. Simon Jarrett has since gone on to work as a session player in Vancouver and designs and builds boutique valve amps under the name Kingsley Amplifiers.

During the nineties, I composed non-commercial music for leading music library Amphonic Music in a wide variety of musical styles from rock to easy listening jazz. During this time I continued developing my jazz, blues and rock playing. In 1992 I recorded a jazz/rock album at Amphonic with Mark Edwards, Thad Kelly and Tim Goodyer. It was to be released commercially, but interest in this style of music was waning, and it didn't happen. At this time, I gave up working to work for myself, as an artist and musician (I'm also a portrait painter). I started occasional work as session guitarist recording in both commercial and non-commercial settings.

In the early 2000's I met trinidadian musicians Curtis Ruiz, bass, and his brother Felix, keys, and performed irregularly with them, both for my own performances, and theirs. Through them I also met and regularly performed with New York saxophonist, Butch Thomas (Jaco Pastorius, Lenny Kravitz, Sting) and top session drummer Richard Bailey (Jeff Beck, InCognito, etc.). I also began a musical association with Simon Jarrett's brother, Russell (who studied guitar at the renowned Berklee College of Music, Boston), and we have continued playing as a guitar duo over the last ten years. In the mid 2000's, I took over the regular guitar spot in the Ruiz brothers function band, PapaMengo.

Latterly, I have been advancing my classical guitar playing primarily for teaching, but also for playing light solo classical guitar for functions. I am also busy composing non-commercial music.

A few links to Simon’s music
PapaMengo soundcloud demo
nooks and crannies (1993 album with pianist Mark Edwards)
bluesy demo (2003)

Simon Taylor with PapaMengoPerforming with PapaMengo