167

Billy Taylor: Ten Fingers - One Voice

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
At 77, pianist Billy Taylor serves the jazz world through his profiles of musicians on CBS-TV’s Sunday Morning, and as host of NPR’s Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center broadcasts. Taylor’s book for Hal Leonard,The Billy Taylor Collectionis due out in January 1999.

Versed in all aspects of solo piano performance, Dr. Billy Taylor demonstrates different piano styles for his audience, styles that range from stride piano to bebop and into hard bop improvisation. "Tea for Two, with all its allegiance to Art Tatum, portrays Taylor’s love for fresh improvisation. As Nat Hentoff’s liner notes point out, the standard songs in the set sound as if Taylor were "playing them for the first time." Additional information concerning the pianist’s solo piano performances may be found at http://www.arkadiarecords.com .

Taylor demonstrates his ability to explore right from the start of the session, as he begins "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" by repeating the opening phrases and fading each one. With this dreamy introduction completed, he then launches a familiar upbeat approach to the classic tune. While "Laura" moves in and out of rubato with lush drama, Cole Porter’s "Night and Day" runs light and effervescent with an embellished theme flying over the keyboard. Taylor’s compositions "Solo," "Can You Tell by Looking at Me?" and "Early Bird" offer contrasting styles, as one portrays the lush ballad without rhythmic shackles, another moves slowly and deliberately with respect paid to its beautiful melody, and the other runs through bebop territory with included side quotes. Clifford Brown’s "Joy Spring" runs pleasantly through the scenery of a laid-back jazz standard, then allows space for Taylor to explore the kind of improvisation he does so well. Bop accents and a sense of never-end! ing motion keep the listener’s head moving and foot tapping. Duke Ellington’s "In a Sentimental Mood" places an emphasis onsentimental, as Taylor portrays the piece without definite rhythm. It serves as a vehicle for the pianist to wander in and out of the musical theme in much the same way that he wanders in and out of an interesting conversation. Recommended.


Track Listing: Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; In a Sentimental Mood; Joy Spring; Laura; Easy Like; Night and Day; Can You Tell by Looking at Me?; Early Bird; Tea for Two; Solo; My Heart Stood Still.

Personnel: Billy Taylor- piano.

| Record Label: Arkadia Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "You'll See" CD/LP/Track Review You'll See
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Broken Artist" CD/LP/Track Review Broken Artist
by James Nadal
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "From Here to There" CD/LP/Track Review From Here to There
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Source" CD/LP/Track Review Source
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!