Mark Taylor Quartet: A Four-Part Fusion of Friendship and Music

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Mark Taylor - Sax
Mark Taylor and Gary Fukushima play Aug. 15 at Tula's as the Mark Taylor Quartet.

Jazz musicians -- and, more broadly, boys -- bond over predictable things, so the collaboration between pianist Gary Fukushima and saxophonist Mark Taylor started with a question that went something like this:

“Hey Mark, you want to watch the Sonics game with me?"

About 15 years after they met as music students at the University of Washington, Taylor and Fukushima, both products of the area's extraordinary high-school jazz programs, have just recorded their first album together as the Mark Taylor Quartet. The group, fresh out of the studio, will perform three sets tonight at Tula's with bassist Jeff Johnson and Byron Vannoy on drums.

Although Taylor wrote most of the songs, all four contributed compositions to the yet-untitled album (due out this spring from Origin Records). The musicians have overlapping histories with one another: Johnson and Vannoy are regulars in Taylor's trio; Fukushima, who now resides in Los Angeles, played a longtime Monday-night gig with Johnson at the Broadway Grill on Capitol Hill years ago. Taylor and Fukushima, who were also roommates in college, bonded over basketball and Derrick McKey but went their separate ways after the UW to pursue graduate degrees.

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