Otis Taylor (born July 30, 1948, Chicago, Illinois) is an African
American blues musician. He is a multi-instrumentalist whose talents
include the guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals. In 2001, he
was Awarded a fellowship to the Sundance Film Composers Laboratory.
moved at a young age to Denver, Colorado where he grew up. He originally
grew up playing the banjo, but his father wanted him to be a jazz
musician. Upon hearing that the banjo was originally an African
instrument, turned almost exclusively into a white bluegrass instrument
in part through the derogatory black-face minstrel shows of the 19th
century, Taylor dropped the banjo and began to focus solely on the
guitar and harmonica. He played music professionally both in Europe and
the United States in a variety of blues-oriented bands until 1977, when
he left the music industry for other pursuits, including becoming an
antique dealer. Taylor returned to music in 1995, and as of 2008, has
released nine blues albums on several record labels. His music tends to
focus on the hard realities of life, especially relating to the black
community. Some common themes in his music are murder, racism, poverty,
and the need for redemption. To date, Taylor has eleven Blues Music
Awards nominations while White African was named 'Best Artist Debut'.
His most recent effort, Recapturing the Banjo, is an attempt to
reconnect himself and the world with the true African origins of the
The song "Nasty Letter" from Taylor's 2003 album, Truth Is Not
Fiction, was featured on the soundtrack for the 2007 film Shooter. His
song "10 Million Slaves" was featured in the trailer for Michael Mann's
2009 film Public Enemies.
Taylor was the support act on Gary Moore's Autumn 2007 tour of the
United Kingdom and also supported Moore on his Germany tour in March
Family Taylor's daughter, Cassie, is featured on many of his releases.
She also plays several instruments including bass and vocals.