New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings

Let’s start from soccer. Only yesterday I was nervous about having lost some money due to Newcastle Utd’s unexpected defeat at the hands of Sheffield Utd, currently the weakest team in the English Premier League. However, today I regained confidence in Newcastle Upon Tyne thanks to my chance encounter with, and appreciation at first hearing of, the improvisational sagacity of pianist Paul Taylor, who hails from there. 

Taylor belongs to that breed of pianists who masterfully exploit the evocative appeal of the resonance of a chord progression. His modulations – conceived at the same instant as they manifest themselves physically – just rub the aural senses the right way. Those hands delineate a high-yielding path inside the secret rooms of a harmony that draws colours and nuances from romantic pasts, transcendental visions, defined yet shifting tonalities. Manual dexterity is evident, and there’s no need for me to dwell on this aspect. Especially impressive for this reviewer is the quick sequence of emotional states that the music causes. One has no time to think “how beautiful, this passage”, since Taylor has meanwhile created as much full-bodied grace in the seconds immediately following. And so it goes, from beginning to end. Little maths, lots of heart throughout.

A receptive audience’s needs are satisfied – in aesthetically consistent fashion, for good measure – by an instrumentalist whose inner depth and speed of translation from intuition to creative act appear to be in direct proportion. That this album is released by a label specifically founded to help musicians in a period of live activity forcibly cut short, for obvious reasons, adds a positive note to an extremely rewarding listening experience.

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