15 years after his last concert at FolkClub, finally, after countless attempts, we were able to bring this giant of Blues and world music back to Italy and on our stage.
Defined the most relevant bluesman of our time by the authoritative Guitar Player magazine. Whatever instrument he played, what remains impressed on his shows is the immediacy and spontaneity in making vivid events based on history and truth. Considered to be one of the most innovative and socially engaged blues artists of the past 20 years, his repertoire is essentially based on emotionally charged songs, ranging from political to personal. Otis Taylor is considered one of the most successful blues artists of our time; he boasts of numerous collaborations with various artists of the highest level such as the English rock-blues guitarist Gary Moore, the harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite and the jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara. Several of his nominations and awards received in the most prestigious Awards such as 'Best Blues Artist', 'Best Blues Album' and 'Best Instrumentalist' in the banjo category. With Otis Taylor, it's always best to expect the unexpected. While his music - a fusion of styles rooted in their crudest form - deals with strong issues like murder, homelessness, tyranny and injustice, his personal style is lighthearted. "I'm good with the dark, but I'm not a particularly unhappy person," he says of himself. Part of Taylor's appeal is his contrasting character traits. But it is precisely this surprising element that makes him one of the most compelling artists to have established himself in the last 20 years. In fact, Guitar Player magazine writes: "Otis Taylor is probably the most relevant blues artist of our time." Whether it's his unique instrumentation (often alternating banjo and cello), or the sudden sound of a female voice, or a seemingly optimistic song that suddenly takes a pessimistic turn, what remains consistent in Otis's music is a moving narrative, based on truth and history. On his sixth album, "Double V", Taylor indulges in intimate tales while his music is an auditory excursion inspired by an unconventional childhood. Otis Mark Taylor was born in Chicago in 1948. After his uncle was shot dead, his family moved to Denver, where he was born and cultivated his teenage interest in blues and folk. Both of his parents are huge music fans; "I grew up with jazz musicians," he says. "My father worked for the railways and knew a lot of jazzmen. He was a socialist and a true bebopper." His mother, Sarah, a hard as nails, liberal-minded woman, had a soft spot for Etta James and Pat Boone. Young Otis spends his time at the Denver Folklore Center, where he buys his first instrument, a banjo. He plays it while riding his unicycle to high school. The Denver Folklore Center is also where he first hears Mississippi John Hurt and country blues. He also learns to play guitar and harmonica and forms his first bands: The Butterscotch Fire Department Blues Band and later the Otis Taylor Blues Band. He ventured for a short time to London to return to the United States in the late 1960s. His next project is the T&O Short Line with legendary Deep Purple singer / guitarist Tommy Bolin. After a stint with the 4-Nikators and the Zephyrs, in 1977 Otis takes a break from the world of music and embarks on a successful career as an antique dealer and as a coach forms an established team of professional cyclists. After years of solicitations from his musical mentor - bassist Kenny Passarelli - in 1995 Otis finally returned to the stage, in an intimate room in Boulder Colorado's "Hill" district, and was joined by the sideman of the stars, Kenny Passarelli, and by the ace of guitar Eddie Turner. A reporter writes: "… the combination was magical, Taylor's unique singing style blended perfectly with Passarelli's rock virtuosity and Turnet's rock-roll dyed riffs." The references to this appearance are so strong that Taylor decides to return to the music scene, playing carefully chosen dates with Passarelli and Turner. Two years later he releases "Blue Eyed Monster", which convinces the blues audience and marks the emergence of a songwriter who has, in his own words "… a way to say something that seems to be more intense". In 1998 he raised more than one eyebrow with the album "When Negroes Walked the Earth", full of unrepentant lyrics, raw instrumentation and heartbreaking messages. Playboy magazine describes it as "minimalist blues in the ways of John Lee Hooker." Critics and music fans note that his talent as a vivid storyteller and established guitarist has solidified. In the summer of 2000 he obtained a fellowship in composition at the Sundance Institute in Park City, Utah. If Taylor's first two recordings have enchanted the world of music, audiences are literally enraptured by "White African" (2001), his most direct album and a personal statement on the experiences of African Americans, including the lynching of their great-grandfather and death of the uncle. Brutality becomes the main theme of his songs that fearlessly explore the history of injustice in racial and social relations. With this album Taylor officially opens a way. He earns four W.C. Nomination and wins the 'Best New Artist Debut' award. "White African" barely hit record stores when Otis begins writing the songs that will end up on the 2002 album "Respect The Dead", making him a contender for two Handy Awards in 2003: 'Best Acoustic Artist' and 'Contemporary Blues Album'. The following year he bends conventions again with his debut for Telarc Records, "Truth Is Not Fiction" which takes Taylor in a decidedly electric, almost psychedelic direction, forging a sound that is described as 'trance-blues'. Music critics are truly enthralled and the record receives lavish praise from USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR and is named in the Downbeat critics' poll as 'Blues Album of the Year'. The album was quickly followed by "Double V", which marks his debut as a producer and a collaboration with his daughter Cassie, who sings beautifully and plays bass. The album earned him a second win in Downbeat's critics poll as 'Blues Album of the Year', for the second consecutive year (it's the only case!), While Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Blender and CNN all give their 'thumb-up'. But perhaps the most significant accolade that year comes from Living Blues Reader's Poll, which honors Taylor (along with Etta James) with the 'Best Blues Entertainer' award in 2004. Telarc releases “Below the Fold” -Taylor's seventh CD- in summer of 2005. The album is a stylistically varied ensemble of songs that point to a center based on blues but awash in shades of Appalachian country and moody, psychedelic rock. Once again, critics are thrilled and Downbeat gives the album four stars, noting that Taylor "has a poet's soul, with a deep respect for American black history and an unwavering curiosity about the human condition." The New Yorker nicknames his sound 'Velvet Underground Railroad' and goes on to proclaim that "Otis can buzz but he never stands still, and when he moves he always heads for places you've never seen." At the end of the year, “Below the Fold” reached number 12 on the Chicago Tribune's 20 Best Albums list. And just in case his brilliant writing style and damned voice weren't enough to grab the attention of audiences and critics alike, Taylor has also proven his instrumental skills with two consecutive Blues Music Awards nominations (2005 and 2006). ) as 'Best Instrumentalist' in the banjo category. In addition to traditional tours and recordings, Taylor currently leads a school program dedicated to the blues called "Writing the Blues". Conceived by his wife, he is aimed at schools of all levels and levels across the country, up to universities, to offer advice, enlighten and guide students regarding blues music. "I always start by asking them to write down what makes them sad; fears, disappointments, losses ... whatever. It's just great to read some of these nuggets, these incredible thoughts. They are often simple sentences but so real, so sad, so true, so pure". For Taylor, it is an exquisite opportunity to connect with others and helps others connect with their selves, allowing them to do their part in ensuring that the blues and the ability to share life experiences continue into the next generations. Taylor resides in Boulder, Colorado, where he lives with his wife.
With Otis Taylor (guitars, banjo, vocals and harmonica), Byron Cage (drums) and Nick Amodeo (bass) will be on stage.