FRED TAYLOR: A JAZZ HERO AMONG US
(Boston) - The Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) has bestowed a special award to Boston’s Fred Taylor for his lifelong commitment to jazz.
The inﬂuential association of over 400 journalists honored Taylor in New York City on June 14, selecting him as one of ﬁve ‘jazz heroes’ recognized across the nation. The other winners came from Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.
Howard Mandel, president of the JJA and producer of the annual jazz awards, said the Heroes Award was initiated in 2010 to recognize local activists working in support of jazz musicians, audience development, education and journalism.
“Jazz needs presenters, and Fred Taylor has all the attributes of the best of them -- big ears, good ways of working with people, a real love of the music,” Mandel said. “Without people like Fred, the music doesn’t get put on and audiences have no place to go.
“Fred’s run Boston clubs, been a host to its hottest scenes, produced breakthrough concerts, established Tanglewood as a major jazz festival and worked to put Scullers on the international jazz map. He’s still ﬁnding new talent, and he still loves the music -- all that makes him a jazz hero.”
Born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, Taylor’s illustrious career as one of Boston’s premier jazz promoters dates back to 1963 when he ran Paul’s Mall and the Boston Jazz Workshop on Boylston Street, across from the Lenox Hotel. John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie played there, and so did Bruce Springstein, Billy Joel and Earth, Wind and Fire when they were starting their careers.
Fred ran the clubs until 1978; then went on to produce concerts in Boston Symphony Hall and the Boston Garden, working with Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and others.
In 1991 Taylor began working at Scullers Jazz Club at the Doubletree Hotel in Allston, and turned it into one of the top ten jazz clubs in America.
From 2001 to 2007 Fred was artistic director for the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and today he is entertainment director of Scullers Jazz Club, and a board member of JazzBoston.
When he is not promoting jazz concerts, Fred is reportedly working on a memoir of his fascinating life as one of Boston’s legendary jazz promoters.
(Thanks to Dawn Singh, Dayla Santurri and Howard Mandel for biographical information on Fred Taylor)
- by Michael P. Quinlin