Taylor Ho Bynum (b. 1975) has spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation – through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. Bynum’s expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention on over twenty recordings as a bandleader and dozens more as a sideman. Recent releases on the Firehouse 12 Records label include the 4-album set “Navigation” (2013) with his Sextet and 7-tette, and “Enter the Plustet” (2016), the debut recording of his 15-piece creative orchestra. “The Ambiguity Manifesto“, featuring Bynum’s 9-tette, was released in 2019 and celebrated as one of the top releases of the year in the NPR Jazz Critics Poll. He is also recognized for his “Acoustic Bicycle Tours“, where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles.
Current collective projects include his long-running duo with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, Illegal Crowns (with Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson, and Benoit Delbecq) and Geometry (with Kyoko Kitamura, Tomeka Reid, and Joe Morris). Other well-documented projects have included Bynum’s SpiderMonkey Strings, Masters of Ceremony (an interdisciplinary dance/music quartet with Rachel Bernsen, Melanie Maar, and Abraham Gomez-Delgado), Positive Catastrophe (a 10-piece Latin free-jazz band co-led with Gomez-Delgado), and the collective ensembles the Thirteenth Assembly (Fujiwara, Halvorson, and Jessica Pavone), the Convergence Quartet (Alexander Hawkins, Dominic Lash, and Harris Eisenstadt), and Book of Three (John Hebert and Gerald Cleaver). Bynum’s two decades of work with Anthony Braxton is recognized as one of the most generative partnerships of that legendary composer’s career, with projects ranging from duos to orchestras and everything in between. During Bynum’s stewardship of the Tri-Centric Foundation (which he served as executive director from 2010-2018), he produced many major Braxton projects, including two massive Trillium operas, two immersive Sonic Genome performances, and multiple festivals. He has also worked closely with such departed masters as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, with other recent sideman credits including Nels Cline, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Tomas Fujiwara, Jim Hobbs, Jason Kao Hwang, Ingrid Laubrock, Bill Lowe, Nicole Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, and Yo La Tengo.
In 2017, Bynum became the director of the Coast Jazz Orchestra at Dartmouth College, where he also teaches composition, improvisation, and music history. He regularly travels to conduct explorations of new creative orchestra music, with works premiered by the Scottish BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Tri-Centric Orchestra, and has taught at universities and workshops worldwide. Bynum’s writing has been published in the New Yorker, Point of Departure and Sound American, and he has served as a panelist, board member and consultant for arts organizations and individual artists. He is the co-founder of the Firehouse 12 Records label, a former curator for the Festival of New Trumpet Music, and a board member for the New England Foundation for the Arts. His work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, USArtists International, the Herb Alpert Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
To contact Taylor, email thobynum [at] gmail [dot] com. To subscribe to Taylor’s occasional newsletter, click here. For complete CV, discography, and hi-res photos click the link below to download EPK.