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Ten Fingers, One Voice

Billy Taylor

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Album Review

This is delightful, unrestrained solo piano from one of the foremost jazz performers and educators of our time. For years Taylor recorded with trios, but here he goes it alone and treats the listener to another, more carefree realm of his playing. He covers eight jazz standards and does three originals, including the ballad "Can You Tell by Looking at Me?" and his tribute to Charlie Parker, "Early Bird." "Tea for Two" is probably the most widely recognized cover, but Taylor's treatment of it is far removed from its traditional arrangement. Teddi Castion's "Easy Like" is especially playful and features some great stride work, and Taylor takes Cole Porter's "Night and Day" into places no pianist has gone before. Taylor was 75 years old during this recording, and one would think that at that age perhaps the fingers aren't as nimble as they used to be. He definitely proves that wrong on Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" (where he changes keys not once but twice!). If you listen closely to this disc while wearing headphones, you can hear Taylor softly vocalizing occasionally — an interesting glimpse into what's going on between his ears as the music flows out of him.

Biography

Born: 24 July 1921 in Greenville, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '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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Ten Fingers, One Voice, Billy Taylor
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