Michael Ronald Taylor (1 June 1938, Ealing, West London - 19 January 1969) was a British jazz composer, pianist and co-songwriter for the band Cream.
Mike Taylor was brought up by his grandparents in London and Kent, and joined the RAF for his national service. Having rehearsed and written extensively throughout the early 1960s, he recorded two albums for the Lansdowne series produced by Denis Preston: Pendulum (1966) with drummer Jon Hiseman, bassist Tony Reeves and saxophonist Dave Tomlin) and Trio (1967) with Hiseman and bassists Jack Bruce and Ron Rubin. They were issued on UK Columbia.
During his brief recording career, several of Taylor's pieces were played and recorded by his contemporaries. Three Taylor compositions were recorded by Cream, with lyrics by drummer Ginger Baker "Passing the Time", "Pressed Rat and Warthog" and "Those Were the Days", all of which appeared on the band's August 1968 album Wheels of Fire. Neil Ardley's New Jazz Orchestra's September 1968 recording Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe features one original Taylor composition "Ballad" and an arrangement by him of a Segovia piece "Study".
Mike Taylor drowned in the River Thames near Leigh-on-Sea, Essex in January 1969, following years of heavy drug use (principally hashish and LSD). He had been homeless for three years, and his death was almost entirely unremarked.
In 2007, the independent record label, Dusk Fire Records, released for the first time Mike Taylor Remembered, a 1973 tribute to the musician recorded by Ardley, Hiseman, Ian Carr, Barbara Thompson, and other major modern British jazz players.
In 2015, Gonzo Multimedia published Out of Nowhere, the first biography on him written by Italian writer Luca Ferrari.
Mike Taylor is buried in Sutton Road Cemetery, Southend on Sea, grave 23588.
"I dive from a springboard into cool clear water and yet I furnish my springboard with my experience so that my life is more than my action". M.T. 1.6.38 - 19.1.69