Jason Taylor

Jason Taylor's Biography

Jason "Malletman" Taylor grew up in Brooklyn, New York listening to Lionel Hampton’s music. His mother, who was a fan of Hampton, introduced her son to the jazz legend’s work. Taylor started out playing the drums when he was 12 years old. He then went on to play the xylophone before falling in love with the vibraphone, which he describes as being the most beautiful sounding instrument. He became dedicated to mastering the vibes, just like Hampton, who was so impressed during his first meeting with Taylor in 1981, that he took in the young "Malletman" as his protégé and became his mentor. In addition to touring the United States and Europe with Hampton and his eighteen-piece band, Taylor also lived with him and received the kind of personal training and experience that can only be described as priceless. It was during that time when Taylor also formed Mallet Records, a record company dedicated to its mission of "Keeping Real Music Alive."

Taylor flew away from Hampton’s nest in 1985. That was the year he began to heavily promote his first recording, Once Upon a Mallet, which caught the attention of quite a few people. In 1986, Taylor released his sophomore recording, Good Grief/My Destiny, after which Taylor returned to his true love - performing. Over the years to follow, he developed his unique live show into one that awed audiences and critics alike. As the 1980’s ended, Taylor released the successful Love Attack album, which features the singles, "Love Attack" and "Pick Me Up." Love Attack (The Remix) was number 24 on the Let’s Dance! Record Pool Urban Chart in December, 2000. Taylor is a five-time Grammy ballot nominee. His nominations include Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for “The Christmas Song”. His single Live at Mallet’s Place features "Once Upon a Mallet," a lively original composition and a seductive version of the jazz standard "Misty."

Taylor is known for his unique presentation of jazz, R&B, and swing, creating a signature sound that he calls Vibrafunk. He has been in the company of greats such as Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Branford Marsalis, Steve Washington, B.B. King, Albert King, Carmine Appice, Randy Brecker, Teddy Riley, Will Calhoun, and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. Taylor has opened up for Earth Wind and Fire, Isaac Hayes, Pancho Sanchez, The Manhattans, Paquito D’Rivera, Pieces of a Dream, Diana Reeves, and Maya Angelou.

Taylor studied music at Suffolk Community College, Schenectady Community College, and Berklee College of Music.

Mike Balter Mallets honored Taylor with his very own signature mallet in June 2005. In addition to Yamaha and Mike Balter Mallets, Taylor also serves as an endorser for AKG Acoustics, Dream Cymbals, and Reunion Blues Gig Bags & Cases.

Taylor performs with his six-piece Malletman Band, and also with his All-Star Band, which features fellow percussionists Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums and Tito Puente, Jr. on timbales.

Taylor became a Yamaha artist and clinician in 1991. He presents music clinics and master classes throughout the United States at schools, colleges, music stores, and churches.

Jason Taylor's Gear
Jason Taylor

Gear List

YV-3400 CS-745