Music is our business, the world is our stage, let us build in harmony!


Photo History 1987 to Present -


Taylor Made Jazz is one of Western New Yorks most popular, award-winning, international jazz band. Their history,
like most long standing bands, is rich, and involves many musicians and artists. Its roots begin with UST Topaze a
high powered R&B Show band. This is a photographic history of the members of Taylor Made Jazz!

Taylor Made Jazz began in the spring of 1987. The founders of the organization were keyboardist Van Taylor and trumpeter Brian Freeman. Both came from an organization known as U.S.T. Topaze, a heavy-hitting R&B/Pop Show band. Van Taylor had an idea to form a new organization, this time more Flexible. They can be a R&B concert Band or a Jazz combo band. He put together the following musicians to make the first version of a group called Taylor Made.


Taylor Made crew 1987 consisted of:

Left to right, top row Saxophonist: Terry Ahmed; Vocalist: Annette Batia, Vocalist: Joey Diggs; Vocalist: Sandra Toussaint; Vocalist: Henry Wright Jr.; Trumpeter: Brian Freeman. Left to right, Bottom row Drummer: Greg Prieto; Keyboardist: Van Taylor; and Bassist: Tony Blasting Guitarist Ron Walker not pictured

Taylor Made appeared during the Fall of 1987 on the TV show City Rhythm, performing original songs. That group consisted of Drummer: Miss Robin Wilson; Guitar: Mr. Shawn Mcquiller now lead singer for Kool and the Gang, Saxophonist: Mr. Robert Tatum; Vocalist: Miss Annette Batia; Keyboardist: Vernon Bunch; Vocalist: Joey Diggs; and Keyboardist: Van Taylor.


That year, Van Taylor released a jazz instrumental single 45 called A Nice Day the song was featured by the wblk 93.7 budwiser showdown contest and a song called Father, which was featured on wkbw Andy Thomas show sung by Mr. Joey Diggs. The songs were released around the world on BCMK records distributed by CBS records with great reviews in Canada and Europe. The song Father is now a perennial song during Fathers Day.


During the winter of 1987, Taylor Made initiated a lot of notable changes by downsizing the band to a six-piece unit due to lack of work in the area.


Taylor Made Six-piece, Fall of 1987:


Drums: Greg Prieto, Trumpet: Brian Freeman, Vocals: Annette Batia, also from the group the Exoutics

Vocals: Joey Diggs, Keyboards: Van Taylor, Bassist: Tony Blasting


The group continued to downsize in 1988 with a new line-up, consisting of a dynamic quintet: This unit appeared at Buffalo NY Kleinhans Music Hall that year.


Taylor Made Jazz 1988 - Left to right


Trumpet: Brian Freeman, Keyboard: Van Taylor, Drums: Robert Garret standing

Saxophone: Terry Ahmed, Bassist: Tommy Flucker, leader of the Unity Band


Taylor Made downsized again to a quartet and in the process was officially renamed Taylor Made Jazz. This unit was appeared regularly at Hemmingways restaurant Buffalo NY


Taylor Made Jazz 1989


Drums: Robert Garret, Vocals: Tanya Diona,, Keyboards: Van Taylor

Trumpet: Brian Freeman.


There were several guest perfomers that year during the Sheraton Fallsview series Niagara Falls Canada

Kenny Hawkins- guitar, Jerry Sampson-Bass, Wade Hawkins-Keyboards

During this time, the group performed numerous charity events including the variety club telethon, heart strings and Jerry Lewis telethon, and appeared several times on breakfast television in Toronto, Canada. Tanya Diona worked with the group for a period of two years under an artist development program sponsored by Van Taylor Production Tanya appeared and won several times at the Apollo theatre in NYC and won top R&B vocalist buffalo nightlife magazine while with the band before moving on to her own 1994


During the 90s three new additions came on to the group. This unit appeared regularly at Holiday in Delaware ave Buffalo NY This unit won Best R&B band Buffalo Nightlife Music awards several years


Taylor Made Jazz 1990


Left to Right, Top Row

Bassist: Kier Ellison, Drummer: Robert Garret, Flugal Horn: Brian Freeman


Left to Right, Bottom Row
Vocalist: Sandra Toussant, Vocalist: Sharon Banks, Keyboards: Van Taylor, Vocalist: Tanya Diona

During the busy years of the 90s bassist Kier Ellison went on to perform in the gospel markets, effectively leaving Taylor Made Jazz. Another bassist had to be found. At that time, this particular unit of Taylor Made Jazz was asked to tour throughout Canada. In 1995 The group released a CD titled Agape.

Taylor Made Jazz Standing -

Horn: Brian Freeman, Keyboard: Van Taylor, Drummer: Robert Garret

Seated -

Vocals: Sandra Touissant, Vocals: Sharon Banks, Vocals: Tanya Diona, Special guest vocalist Not pictured Gwen Reeves

During the spring/summer of 1991-1995, Taylor Made Jazz was asked to perform for the Armed Forces Entertainment in Central and South America, as well as Europe and the Middle East. That unit consisted of: In 1995 The group released a CD titled Agape Sit back and check it out . The group formed its International touring band to perform in various parts of the world this was the Central American and Mediterranean  Unit


Taylor Made Jazz 1991

Taylor Made Jazz international


Keyboard: Van Taylor, Vocals: Sharon Banks, Keyboard: Julian Johnson,
Vocals: Sandra Toussaint

Drummer: Robert Garret, Vocals: Pat Edwards, Vocals: Rose Marie Neuhoff, Trumpet: Brian Freeman

The group successfully completed a 105-day tour overseas, the first time an AFPEO (Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Organization) tour of this length had been accomplished by a single band. NO They did not give out awards back in those days!

Taylor Made Jazz 1992 to1995

The next unit featured vocalist, Keith Eatmond. also joining the ranks were vocalist Kimalyn Jones and bassist Dale Bell, along with Patricia Edwards. This was the AFE Med Unit This was the Pacific and European Unit

Taylor Made Jazz 1992 to1995



Keith Eatmond, Brian Freeman, Van Taylor, Robert Garret, Patricia Edwards


Bottom left

Robert Tatum


Bottom Right

Dale Bell, Kimalyn Jones

Taylor Made Jazz 1996 to1998

The next unit of Taylor Made Jazz covered the Pacific and Southwest Asian tours for Armed Forces Entertainment and received many certificates of appreciation from all branches of the Armed Forces Tomoka Nomura Joined the Band in spring 1998 this was the Pacific and

Mediterranean unit.


1998 Van Taylor was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame

Left row down:, Vocals: Keith Eatmond, Vocals: Karen Berry, Guitar: Marshall Badger


Right row down: Vocals: Patricia Edwards, Saxophone: Tomoka Nomura

Bassist: (Danny Daniels Deceased 2007)

Center, L-R: Trumpet: Brian Freeman, Keyboard: Van Taylor, Drums: Robert Garret

The next few years Taylor Made Jazz built a solid reputation, and in 1996 won a number of awards and recognitions, most notably the Diamond Accord Award, presented by the International Federation of Festival Organizations, F.I.D.O.F in Cannes France and
the top R&B Award presented by Night Life Magazine in Buffalo, NY.


During the year 2000, several new additions came to Taylor Made Jazz, starting with Miss Louetta Terry on vocals, Jennifer May
on bass,. These ladies performed their first overseas tour in Africa and Europe.

Taylor Made Jazz 2000

Left-Right, Top: Vocals: Louetta Terry, Trumpet: Brian Freeman

Keyboard: Van Taylor, Drums: Robert Garret, Vocals: Karen Berry


Bottom Left Bass: Jennifer May


Bottom Right: Saxophone: Tomoka Nomura

In 2000 The group released a CD titled "The Next Step Everything is Gonna Be Alright"


In 2001 veteran vocalist Anthony Caesar, from the group U.S.T. Topaze joined the band. This unit won the top R&B Award, presented by Night Life Magazine, a position they held for the next two years. In 2003 and 2004 they also won the People’s Choice Award for Jazz. They toured internationally and conducted childrens educational music workshop in various school systems though out Western New York Rochester NY and Southern Ontario.

Taylor Made Jazz 2001-2004

Left-Right: Vocals: Anthony Caesar, Keyboard: Van Taylor (seated), Trumpet: Brian Freeman

Bass: Jennifer May (seated), Drums: Robert Garret, Saxophone: Tomoka Nomura


Additional Musicians Not Pictured: Kenny Berry (Became a regular guest performer 2000)

Carol Mclaughlin (Sax 2002), Nelson Thomas (Guitar 2003), Will Holton (Sax 2004)

Mike Crimes (Drums 2004)

2002 Jennifer May releases a Cd Titled Walt and Jenny In 2003 the group released the Cd
"Full Circle What goes Around Comes Around"

The Buffalo NY Common Council issued a proclamation to TM International recording artist Taylor Made Jazz declaring July 22, 2003 as Taylor Made Jazz DAY for their support of the community and the contribution of their enriching original recordings to Western New York, the Untied States and the World.

Taylor Made Jazz 2004

IN 2004 Melissa Kate and along with Guitarist David Comtois, joined the band , the group traveled to Italy, Spain ,Egypt, Turkey For Armed Forces Entertainment. Melissa released Her cd Titled Blind Faith in 2005.

Left to Right: David Comtois, Melissa Kate, Robert Garrett, Jennifer May, Anthony Ceasor,

Van Taylor

2004 - 2005

During the Fall of 2004 through 2005, Taylor Made Jazz performed at various casinos in the WNY area. That unit consisted of veteran drummer Thomas Gordy Rogers from U.S.T. Topaze, veteran vocalist Sharon Banks from a group called Sabata and early Taylor Made Jazz days and Juanita Duncan from the group Special Blend, as well as vocalist Melissa Kate, bassist Jennifer May and keyboardist Van Taylor. This group performed in Puerto Rico for AFE also The Seneca Casinos

Jennifer May, Thomas Rogers, Van Taylor, Juanita Simmons, Melissa Kate, Sharon Banks


Additional Musicians Not Pictured

Jerry Livingston Bass 2005, Jerry Sampson Bass 2005 and 1989

Flick Williams As Guest 2006


In 2005  Juanita Simmons, Joyce Wilson Nixon , Jeff Nixon joined the Band & Sharon Bank returned to the lineup, Joyce released Her CD Titled in Flight in 2007 Juanita Released her CD Give God the Glory, IN 2005 The group went to Puerto Rico Juanita Simmons along with Mr. Kenny Berry Joined the group for their first Tour.


In 2006 The group went to Alaska, Hawaii, Kwajalen Guam, Vocalist : Joyce Wilson Nixon , and Drummer : Tim Web went on their first tour with the band.


Present day, Van Taylor and Taylor Made Jazz now has several divisions performing R&B and Jazz, in the forms of quintets quartets trios full concert bands.


The group is very active with music educational workshops for children in the schools


The group celebrated their 21st anniversary April 25, 2008 at the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo NY They also Celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2012.

Taylor Made Jazz performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra March 17,2009 and again in September 2010 to benefit the Food Bank of WNY Also in 2010 performed in Cairo Egypt for the Office of Military Cooperation and the US Embassy Cairo Gala


2017 December  Taylor Made Jazz performed for the commissioning Gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ceremony for the LCS9 USS Little Rock at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park


Taylor Made Jazz will continue to provide a service to our American troops their families and our allies watch for future concerts performances via this website


Van Taylor at 716-855-1754



Please put -Taylor Made Jazz - in the Subject



Taylor Made Jazz Events >>


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