Billy Taylor Billy Taylor Trio
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- Released: April 24, 1995
- Label: Prestige
- 1.They Can't Take That Away from Me
- 2.All Too Soon
- 3.Accent on Youth
- 4.Give Me the Simple Life
- 5.Little Girl Blue
- 6.Man With a Horn
- 7.Let's Get Away from It All
- 9.Cool and Caressing
- 10.Who Can I Turn To?
- 11.My One and Only Love
- 13.I've Got the World on a String
- 14.Bird Watcher
- 15.B.T.'s D.T.'s
- 16.Hey Lock
- 17.That's All
- 18.The Little Things That Mean So Much
- 19.Nice Work If You Can Get It
- 20.The Surrey With the Fringe on Top
Billy Taylor Trio: Billy Taylor, Earl May, Charlie Smith.
Recorded in 1952-53.
Personnel: Billy Taylor (piano); Charlie Smith (drums).
Liner Note Author: Doug Ramsey.
Recording information: Hackensack, NJ (11/18/1952-12/29/1953).
Photographer: Bob Parent.
Jazz educator and television personality Billy Taylor is also a technically accomplished and often overlooked pianist. With his trio from the early 1950s, Taylor played accessible, bop-influenced jazz, and this Prestige compilation, which features almost 70 minutes of music, brings together some of the best sides from the trio's tenure at the label. Taylor found a steady, sophisticated rhythm section in bassist Earl May and drummer Charlie Smith (whose subtle brushwork keeps the beat simmering on both slow and up-tempo numbers), and the outfit's tight-knit chemistry is on display throughout this set.
However, it is Taylor's piano playing that really stands out. Though he rarely ranges left of center, Taylor is a consummate musician who can play with delicate lyricism and also swing mightily. The repertoire here is fairly standard, with treatments of Gershwin ("They Can't Take That Away from Me") and Rodgers & Hart ("Little Girl Blue"), but the trio tackles them all with vitality, grace, and strength. The collection proves that Taylor has jazz chops equal to his ability to speak about the music, showing that he does, in fact, practice what he preaches.
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