John Taylor and his two minds. A cryptic title for the new work of the English piano player, which was released a little more than one year after his previous recording for CAM JAZZ, “Giulia’s Thursdays”. This is a concise album, for piano only (or at least so one might assume), in which Taylor bares himself, revealing two sides of his personality: his innermost, quiet and introspective side as opposed to his more lively, vivid, and cheerful side. Are these his “two minds”? A quite regular alternation of pieces in opposite moods seems to confirm this assumption. The enigmatic words with which Taylor comments on his album lead to the same conclusion. But, certainly, that’s not all. It’s not by chance either that Taylor talks about being “in two minds whether to make this recording a solo or a duet project”.
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John Taylor is the pianist of weightlessness. Although overly simple, this aphoristic description of the English virtuoso's dense yet liberated musical discourse renders justice not only to its inherent quality, but to the effect it imparts to listeners. Suspended above an evanescent pulse, swift, jolted rhythms loose their grip; upwardly clouting modulating, mellifluous aural jaunts of texturally multifarious phrases and voicings.
"Giulia’s Thursdays" becomes a necessary passage on the contemporary scene in order to understand the evolution of the piano trio. Palle Danielsson on bass is powerful and melodic, a valuable reference within the themes written by the pianist with rare elegance given by drummer Martin France. A rapport of the three, whose common denominator is recognizable in the melody.
Taylor's subtle but energized touch and flowing melodic inventions find a ready response from Johnson and Baron, two players who excel in the kind of unexpected twists and turns and intricate textural interplay so typical of the pianist's musical imagination. Taylor's original inspiration lies deep in the central jazz tradition, whatever the complex weave of influences and new directions he may have added. Lyrical, intelligent and hugely resourceful music-making, with pristine recorded sound to match.
~ Jazzwise, Kenny Mathieson
GRAMMY nominated - 2005 - Jazz instrumental
What Now? continues Wheeler’s exploration of a drumless modern jazz approach and features him on flugelhorn only. Taylor joins Wheeler again for this project, in addition to other longtime musical collaborators, bassist Dave Holland and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter. What Now? features eight original compositions by Wheeler and displays a fluidity of band interplay that comes from the personal working history these four great musicians have of each other, as Ira Gitler explains in the album’s liner notes. Wheeler adds, “Strong players as these three are an orchestra in themselves. You give them a piece of paper and you don’t have to say anything.”