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Music Keeps Us Young

Billy Taylor Trio

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Album Review

It is extremely difficult to believe that Billy Taylor was 76 at the time of this frequently lively recording. For the trio set with bassist Chip Jackson and drummer Steve Johnson, Taylor performs five originals and six jazz standards with creativity and swing. The repertoire (which has among its highlights "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," and a 10 1/2-minute exploration of "Body and Soul," "Naima," Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring," and the pianist's most famous composition, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free") is generally boppish, spontaneous and quite accessible, mixing together medium-tempo romps with ballads. Although always a bit underrated as a pianist, the seemingly ageless Taylor had by 1996 been recording for over 52 years!

Customer Reviews

An Amazing Album

When I was 16, I travelled to Washington, DC and had the pleasure of seeing the Billy Taylor Trio live in concert. I purchased this album immediately after. Taylor's singular talent as an instructor of jazz compelled me to make the purchase; his stylings on this album make it one of my absolute favorites. While the trio is obviously Taylor's, some of the best moments of the album are bassist Chip Jackson's. His solo on “Body and Soul” positively smolders and is well worth the album price by itself. “Lover Come Back to Me” and “Wouldn't it Be Loverly” are toe-tapping favorites; the latter is reminiscent of Taylor’s 1957 treatment of the same tune on the inimitable “My Fair Lady Loves Jazz”. Taylor’s composition “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free,” is warm and welcoming – an anthem even if you don’t know the words. This album is, without a doubt, a purchase you’ll not regret.

Biography

Born: July 24, 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...
Full Bio