Ross Taggart was one of my piano instructors in the Capilano College Jazz Studies Program. He was in his mid-40’s when he passed away Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 after being admitted to the hospital last October for renal cancer.
I remember the first time I met Ross: my Aunt Shannon and him were very good friends. I must have been 7 or 8 years-old when he first came to our house to pick-up my aunt. While she was getting ready, Ross sat down at the piano and his fingers started flying over the keys. I can’t remember what song he played, but it was furiously fast and silly sounding. When the song was over, he told a few jokes, and then asked me to squeeze his nose. I was a pretty shy kid, so it took a lot of courage for me to go up to this strange man and squeeze his nose, but I did. And it made a very loud, very realistic, honking sound. I was completely flabbergasted. He then proceeded to honk his own nose a few more times, while I watched with wide eyes, trying to figure out how he was making this sound. To this day, I still don’t know how he did it.
I ended up taking lessons from his wife, Sharon Minemoto, for 9 years. She successfully prepared me for my audition at Capilano College, where I was lucky enough to spend some more time with Ross. He was a fantastic teacher; he introduced me to beautiful tunes like, “The Peacocks”, “A Child is Born”, and “Wistfully Yours”. An amazing musician on both the piano and saxophone, Ross Taggart was also a genuinely kind person with a great sense of humour. He will be missed.
Darn That Dream – Ross Taggart, piano
Like Someone In Love – Ross Taggart, tenor sax
The Peacocks – Stan Getz & Jimmy Rowles
A Child Is Born – Thad Jones & Mel Lewis