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The Very Best Of 1945-1949

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Many jazz fans don't realize how long ago Billy Taylor began his career; this French anthology assembles five separate sessions that he led as a young man between 1945 and 1949, as well as one date as a sideman. In 1945 he shows the influence of both Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson in the lightly swinging take of "Night and Day," while his campy approach to "Alexander's Ragtime Band" is rather refreshing. His lyrical solo interpretation of "The Very Thought of You" from 1946 demonstrates his considerable growth as a pianist. Taylor also wrote seven of the songs, which include two versions of his easygoing "Stridin' Down the Champs-Elysees," the flashy blues "Well Taylor-Ed," and two rare vocals by Taylor on the Nat King Cole-like "I Don't Ask Questions, I Just Have Fun" and "So You Think You're Cute." The four tracks featuring Taylor as a sideman in the Walter Thomas Orchestra find him pretty much relegated to a supporting role, although the presence of Doc Cheatham, Eddie Barefield, and Hilton Jefferson makes the music of interest. But Taylor's quintet session with the infrequently recorded tenor saxophonist John Hardee (who is in great form) is hampered somewhat by the unnecessary addition of organist Milt Page, who proves to be more of a distraction with his uninspired playing. Because so much of the valuable material within this collection has been next to impossible to find, it will be of significant interest to fans of Billy Taylor.


Nacido(a): 24 de julio de 1921 en Greenville, NC

Género: Jazz

Años de actividad: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Billy Taylor was such an articulate spokesman for jazz, and his profiles on CBS' Sunday Morning television program (where he was a regular beginning in 1981) were so successful at introducing jazz to a wider audience, that sometimes one could forget what a talented pianist he was for over half a century. While not an innovator, Taylor was flexible enough to play swing, bop, and more advanced styles while always retaining his own musical personality. After graduating from Virginia State College in...
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The Very Best Of 1945-1949, Billy Taylor
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