Otis Taylor: 'Trance Blues' in Concert

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Otis Taylor (tall)

Otis Taylor performs live at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Courtesy of the Monterey Jazz Festival hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Monterey Jazz Festival
Cassie Taylor

Cassie Taylor, Otis' daughter, plays bass in her father's band. Courtesy of the Monterey Jazz Festival hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Monterey Jazz Festival

At the 50th annual Monterey Jazz Festival, Otis Taylor will perform what he calls "trance blues" — a blues sound drenched in Appalachian country music and moody, psychedelic rock. He discovered blues and folk music early on through Denver's Folklore Center, where he first heard Mississippi John Hurt.

By his mid-teens, Taylor was already playing guitar and harmonica in his own groups, the Butterscotch Fire Department Blues Band and later the Otis Taylor Blues Band. He also formed the T&O Short Line with legendary Deep Purple singer/guitarist Tommy Bolin before retiring from the music business in 1977 to become a successful antiques dealer.

Taylor returned to music in 1995 with albums reminiscent of John Lee Hooker's work, albeit with a more minimalist bent. But it wasn't until 2001, when Taylor started to play "trance blues," that people really took notice. White African's haunting rhythms and dark lyrics revealed a bluesman unafraid to expose social wounds. Since then, Taylor has continued to explore this sound on five more albums, the latest of which is titled Definition of a Circle.

Newark, N.J.-based NPR station WBGO has been broadcasting some of the best jazz music in the world since 1979.

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