Born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Drummer, Thomas Taylor Jr. got his start early. Being the only boy of 6 children to Thomas Sr. and Mazel, Thomas had to beat on things to keep himself entertained. It all started with pots and pans, shoeboxes and suitcases. Soon he started playing with the children's' choirs at his church (Samuel's Chapel Baptist). By the time he was 15 he was playing for all the choirs and even playing with men twice his age in a Gospel Vocal Quartet.
As Thomas entered high school, he became more fascinated with music and drumming, so he gave up his fantasy of being "The World's Greatest Athlete". The Northeastern High School Marching Band was the right thing at the right time for Thomas. He excelled in the band program becoming an outstanding soloist and student leader by his senior year.
Many percussion teachers at universities learned about Thomas' talent and potential as a drummer and musician, but Dr. Cort McClaren persuaded him to study Music Education and Percussion at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. There he learned how much music he didn't know. He discovered many styles and learned that his path would be one that was very different from the primary focus of study taught there. He didn't let his differences move him from their studies; he just let his passion for jazz grow in his spare time.
Before graduating from UNC-Greensboro in 1991, Thomas started "In the Black" a Jazz quartet with a talented young bassist, John Brown. Together, they have played jazz across the United States and Japan. From that musical collaboration, Thomas' drumming and composing abilities began to grow. Currently, Thomas is one of the most in-demand Jazz drummers in the southeast.
After graduation from UNC-Greensboro, Thomas was asked to teach privately at "The Music Academy of North Carolina", formerly "The Greensboro Music Academy". There he developed his teaching abilities and philosophy, passing on the passion of jazz to young drummers and jazz students. While teaching there, he met world-renowned Jazz educator, Jamey Aebersold. They began talking about Jazz education and the future of the music. Thomas was then asked to join the drumset faculty for "The Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps" where he taught with many of the most well know Jazz musicians and Jazz educators in the world.
During the summer of 1998, Thomas was asked to bring his knowledge and experiences of jazz drumset to North Carolina Central University as an adjunct faculty member, he currently is the full time percussion professor along with his jazz duties. Thomas was Adjunct Jazz faculty at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2001-2010. In 2005 he joined the Jazz faculty at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he teaches drumset and Hip Hop music appreciation classes. Thomas is continuing to learn and share information with all of his students in private and University settings.
Thomas is also continuing his growth as a musician by playing with local, regional, and national jazz musicians. Catch him at a local Jazz club or at one of the many Universities in Raleigh, Durham, or Greensboro, North Carolina.