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Definition of a Circle

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Album Review

In many cases, modern-day blues artists merely ape the blues masters of yesteryear — following the blueprint to a T. So it is truly a breath of fresh air when Otis Taylor releases a new album, such as 2007's Definition of a Circle. Sure, there are elements of modern-day blues-rock detected (namely, the inclusion of guest guitarist Gary Moore on certain tunes), but Taylor is not stuck to the instruments that are usually associated with blues-rock. Case in point, such tunes as "Black's Mandolin Boogie," "Maharaja Daughter," and "Mexican Cowboy," which utilize such instruments as banjo, mandolin, electric cello, cornet, lap steel, etc. That said, there are several tunes that would certainly fit comfortably in the "modern-day blues-rock" category, including "Love and Hesitation" and "Something in Your Back Pocket" (which showcase Moore's electric guitar talents), as well as tunes such as "Little Betty" and "They Wore Blue," which fit somewhere between the two aforementioned approaches. Otis Taylor is one of the few modern-day bluesmen that manages to avoid stylistic clichés, as heard throughout Definition of a Circle.

Biography

Born: 1948 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Bluesman Otis Taylor never skirted tough subject matter in a career that took him from the Folklore Center in Denver to a brief stay in London, England, to retirement from music in 1977, to being a successful antiques broker and, since 1995, back again to the blues. Taylor's 2001 CD White African (Northern Blues Music), featuring Kenny Passarelli (bass, keyboards) and Eddie Turner (lead guitar), became his most direct and personal statement about the experiences of African-Americans. He addressed...
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Definition of a Circle, Otis Taylor
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