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Tom Taylor: The Crossing

Jim Santella By

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Remember the impact Mason Williams’ instrumental hit "Classical Gas" had on 1960s audiences? Elegant, early classical timbres mixed with the rock generation’s beat, and produced something we all appreciated. Tom Taylor’s tone poems come out of a 17th-century baroque style, but with electric bass, a drummer, guitars, and a natural sound from vibraharp. Without the motor, Joe Caploe’s vibes has no lingering vibrato, a lighter, quicker sound, and considerable agility.

The Crossing features several guests working with Taylor’s quartet. "Swamp Fox" features Erik Golub’s viola with a sweeping, storytelling adventure. It’s light, but with a varied melody and an obvious sense of majesty that stems from the snare drum’s crisp cadence. Golub, whose violin graces half the album, is featured with energetic melodies and some improvisation. "Big Basin Breakdown" begins with a two-minute introduction from the Kronos Quartet and evolves into an up-tempo foot-stomping bluegrass romp that features Golub and David Grisman. On several other pieces Taylor, Caloe, Rick Steffens and Curt Moore offer music suited for film; mood music that tells a story. Taylor stretches out with electric guitar on "Freerun." Recommended, Taylor’s album combines a classical tinge with natural folk idioms and an enjoyable modern day sensibility.


Track Listing: Aubade; Pasque March; Swamp Fox; Big Basin Breakdown; D

Personnel: Tom Taylor- electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Joe Caploe- vibraphone, marimba, percussion; Rick Steffens- electric bass, acoustic bass; Curt Moore- drums, percussion; Ian Dogole- percussion; Erik Golub- violin, viola; David Grisman- mandolin; Jon Ward- acoustic bass guitar on "The Crossing"; Joe Weed- mandolin, mando-cello; Kronos Quartet- strings on "Big Bash Breakdown" and "The Crossing."

Title: The Crossing | Year Released: 1999


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