Uncut - p.974 stars out of 5
-- "[G]enuinely edgy and unnerving, embracing keening electric guitars, scratchy banjos and African echoes..."
Down Beat - p.544 stars out of 5
-- "Taylor creates sonic slices of life...that drench the listener with dark, obsessive urgency."
Dirty Linen - p.78
"Taylor's forceful lead vocals and the vivid emotions he and his collaborators summon up make DEFINITION OF A CIRCLE an utterly original, and often unsettling, listening experience."
Living Blues - p.44
"[H]is theme is courage -- the courage to prevail in the face of oppression, hopelessness, and the simple vicissitudes of daily life....He draws his images with an epic, heartbreaking dignity."
No Depression - p.112
"Taylor continues to unite hypnotic, ultra-repetitive one-chord boogies with droning guitars and quicksand-like undertow."
Personnel: Otis Taylor (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano); Otis Taylor; Junko Ohashi, Se Youn Kwon (vocals); Cecelia E. Alvarez (spoken vocals); Charlie Musselwhite (harp, harmonica); Richard Sharples, Nick Amodeo (mandolin); Ben Sollee (cello, electric cello); Zach Miskin (cello); Ron Miles (trumpet, cornet); Brian Juan (piano, organ); Josh Kelly (drums); Cassie Taylor (vocals); Gary Moore (guitar); Hiromi Uehara (piano).
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY; Immersive Studios, Boulder, CO; Sphere Studio, London, England.
Photographer: Len Irish.
Arranger: Otis Taylor.
On DEFINITION OF A CIRCLE, Otis Taylor cements his status as a true 21st-century bluesman, not just because he began recording in the early 2000s, but because of his intensely modern, syncretic style. Using the blues as a base, he ventures far afield while still maintaining a definitive musical personality. Everything from Hendrix-like guitar licks to jazz trumpet and semi-psychedelic effects is mixed with Taylor's earthy banjo picking and country blues leanings, but somehow he makes the whole thing work.