39

Taylor's Universe: Kind of Red

Dave Wayne By

Sign in to view read count
Taylor's Universe: Kind of Red Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor is something of a musical polymath who's recorded extensively in a number of disparate musical arenas, including free improvisation (with his group Taylor's Free Universe), hard rock (with Art Cinema), electronic soundscapes, and jazz-rock fusion. With Kind of Red, Taylor's stylistic focus is firmly in the general area of instrumental progressive rock.

Taylor's appealing, evocative, minor-key compositions typically have a somber demeanor that is offset by driving, often odd-metered rhythms. Though he plays all the instruments except for the horns and the drums, Taylor's not one to grandstand. In fact, he solos very little throughout Kind of Red's eight tracks. Instead of stepping out as an improviser, Taylor applies his formidable arranging skills to produce some really memorable musical landscapes and atmospheres by juxtaposing and layering different keyboard and guitar sounds in bizarre and unexpected ways. This approach is most fully realized on "Tortugas," a compositional tour de force that frames a spooky, sludgy rubato section between harder-rocking passages based on at least four distinct, interlocking themes.

Despite the pun inherent in the CD's title, there are no obvious Miles Davis references to be heard on Kind of Red, though veteran trumpeter Hugh Steinmetz—a charter member of the '70s Danish prog rock band Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, and John Tchicai's late '60s free jazz band Nova Cadetia Danica—is the featured soloist on several tracks. Steinmetz is a joy to hear—his distinctive, flowing improvisations are among the Kind of Red's high points.

Saxophonist Jakob Mygind (ss/ts) is the CD's other principal soloist, and another wonderful musical find. He's an expressive player who has a chameleonic approach to the instrument, wailing rock 'n' roll sax like Clarence Clemons on "Salon Bleu," in a David Sanborn-on-tenor bag on "Jakriborg," and blowing eloquent Wayne Shorter-ish soprano on "Firestone," and "Crackpot Men." Versatile drummer Klaus Thrane can definitely flash the high-gloss fusion chops when needed, but stays deep in the pocket throughout much of the CD.

Though Taylor's clearly not trying to recreate the sub-genre's salad days, anyone enamored of the sort of music made by bands such as King Crimson (particularly the Mel Collins/Boz Burrell incarnation), Gentle Giant, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer will definitely enjoy this disc. Unlike a lot of '70s progressive rock, nothing Taylor does seems self-consciously complex or grandiose. There's a cinematic feel to much of Kind of Red. It's almost the musical equivalent of a Hitchcock film—intelligent, approachable, even humorous in places, but vaguely unsettling and a little weird overall.

Track Listing: Firestone; Jakriborg; Crackpot Men; Sunday Imagine; Salon Bleu; Terasso; Tortugas; Lost in Jakriborg.

Personnel: Robin Taylor: guitars, basses, keyboards, percussion, voice; Jakob Mygind: soprano and tenor saxophones; Hugh Steinmetz: trumpet, flugelhorn; Klaus Thrane: drums; Louis Nipper: Ghost Voices (5); Jan Fischer: Ghost Voices (5).

Title: Kind Of Red | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Marvel of Beauty


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Gratitude" CD/LP/Track Review Gratitude
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.