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 Man; Sunday Image; Salon Bleu; Terasso; Tortugas; Lost in Jakriborg.

Personnel: Jakob Mygind: soprano and tenor saxophones; Hugh Steinmetz: trumpet, flugelhorn; Robin Taylor: guitars, basses, vintage keyboards (piano, organ, Rhodes, Mellotron, Stringman, harmonium), toy keyboards, percussion, voice, etc.; Louise Nipper and Jan Fischer: ghost voices (5).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Marvel of Beauty


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Chromola" CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Visual Music" CD/LP/Track Review Visual Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Earprint" CD/LP/Track Review Earprint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "More Stories from the Village" CD/LP/Track Review More Stories from the Village
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!