Showing posts with label Earl May. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Earl May. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Billy Taylor (1950-1952)

This second volume covering Billy Taylor's pre-Prestige recordings opens with four sides cut for Brunswick Records in 1950, followed by eight tracks done for Atlantic, and concluding with an early LP of Cuban-inspired jazz, all of which will be of interest to collectors. Taylor's bop-inflected piano style remains elegant throughout, always with a veneer of swinging brightness, and two of the best pieces here, the self-penned "Double Duty" and "Good Groove," show an acute awareness of both time and space, areas Taylor would go on to explore with his subsequent trios.
Steve Leggett

Source :

Billy Taylor
Chronogical Classic


1 All Ears (Taylor) 2:55
2 My Heart Stood Still (Hart, Rodgers) 3:12
3 Darn That Dream (DeLange, Van Heusen) 3:18
4 Double Duty (Taylor) 2:54
5 Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Harris, Koehler, Moll) 2:42
6 Thou Swell (Hart, Rodgers) 3:11
7 Good Groove (Taylor) 3:04
8 Somebody Loves Me (DeSylva, Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:42
9 Willow Weep for Me (Ronell) 3:28
10 If I Had You (Campbell, Connelly, Shapiro) 3:07
11 The Very Thought of You (Noble) 3:21
12 What Is There to Say (Duke, Harburg) 3:00
13 The Cuban Caper (Taylor) 2:52
14 Cu-Blue (unknow) 2:48
15 Squeeze Me (unknow) 3:06
16 Feeling Frisky (Taylor) 2:40
17 Cuban Nightingale (George, Martinez) 3:02
18 Makin' Whoopee (Donaldson, Kahn) 3:04
19 Titoro (Titora) (Taylor) 2:44
20 Moonlight Savings Time (Taylor) 2:21
21 Three Little Words (Kalmar, Ruby) 2:23
22 Oscar Rides Again* (Pettiford) 2:44

[# 1-4] 
Billy Taylor - p
Aaron Bell - b
Kelly Martin - dr
Recorded in New York City ; January 18, 1950
[# 5-12]

Billy Taylor - p
John Collins - g
Al Hall - b
Shadow Wilson - dr
Recorded in New York City ; February 20, 1951
[# 13-16]
Billy Taylor - p
Mundell Lowe - g
Earl May - b
Jo Jones - dr
Zoot Sims - mrcs
Frank Conlon - cg
Recorded in New York City ; November 1, 1951
[# 17-20]
Billy Taylor - p
Chuck Wayne - g
Earl May - b
Charlie Smith - dr
Frank Conlon - cg
Manny Oquendo - bg
Recorded in New York City ; May 2, 1952
[# 21-22]
Billy Taylor - p
Chuck Wayne - g
George Duvivier - b
Sid Bulkin - dr
Oscar Pettiford* - cel
Recorded in New York City ; July 11, 1952

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Billy Taylor Meets The Jazz Greats

Creed Taylor was the original jazz producer for the American ABC Paramount label. This EP [Indiana, The Nearness Of You, In A Mellow Tone & Laura (H.M.V. 7EG8350)], taken from an ABC LP, is an attempt at showcasing the individual tasks of the piano, vibes, bass and drums in modern jazz. Pianist Billy Taylor, accompanied by George Duvivier and Percy Brice, plays a breakneck version of Indiana as an example of the post-Bud Powell style, and Taylor, Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke comprise the basic group for the remaining tracks. Pettiford's superb bass playing is heard throughout The Nearness Of You, a dramatic and technical tour-de-force, while Clarke trades solos with guests Gigi Gryce, Tony Scott and Mundell Lowe on Ellington's In A Mellow Tone ; Joe Roland is added to the trio for Laura and contributes a charming slowtempo vibes solo, noteworthy for its restful and melodic outlines. (Gramophone, July 1958)
According to the sleeve front the present EP [If I Love Again, There Will Never Be Another You, But Not For Me, Come Rain Or Come Shine (H.M.V. 7EG8367-11s)] features the saxophone section, although the presence of a clarinet makes this statement incorrect. Four reed instruments are heard solo above a rhythm section led by pianist Billy Taylor. Tony Scott plays clarinet on If I Love Again in his usual enervated manner, producing music which is polite to the point of boredom. Al Cohn puts aside his tenor in favour of a baritone sax for his spirited version of There Will Never Be Another You, played with engaging assertiveness. The greatly underrated Charlie Rouse demonstrates the tenor sax in an excellent interpretation of But Not For Me, while the wistful mood of Come Rain Or Shine is well suited to the melancholy style of Gigi Gryce's sharply-intoned alto. (Gramophone, September 1958)
The third and final volume [Embraceable You & Stella By Starlight (H.M.V. 7EG8382-8s)] in this series showcases the instruments of the brass section. On Embraceable You Jimmy Cleveland again demonstrates his ability to play quavers and semiquavers at medium tempo on the slide trombone ; he seems to be a slave to technique, however, for his jazz ideas are limited. Trumpeter Donald Byrd takes Stella By Starlight first at slow tempo (mediocre) and then at increased speed (better). Apart from the listed rhythm section, a vibraphone makes discreet appearances on Stella By Starlight, played, presumably, by Joe Roland, who was featured on Volume 1 of this series [...]. (Gramophone, October 1958)
A.M. from Gramophone, July, September & October 1958


Billy Taylor
Meets The Jazz Greats
(2 Lps On 1 Cd)


1 Indiana (Hanley, McDonald) 2:20
2 Embraceable You (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:04
3 The Nearness of You (Carmichael, Washington) 4:07
4 In a Mellow Tune (Ellington, Gabler) 2:43
5 If I Love Again (Murray, Oakland) 3:24
6 There'll Never Be Another You (Gordon, Warren) 4:04
7 Laura (Mercer, Raskin) 3:56
8 But Not For Me (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:41
9 How About You ? (Freed, Lane) 3:20
10 Stella by Starlight (Washington, Young) 3:38
11 Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen, Mercer) 3:56
12 Show Me (Lerner, Loewe) 4:47
13 I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face (Lerner, Loewe) 3:45
14 With a Little Bit of Luck (Lerner, Loewe) 4:35
15 The Rain in Spain (Lerner, Loewe) 3:05
16 Get Me to the Church on Time (Lerner, Loewe) 4:20
17 Wouldn't It Be Loverly ? (Lerner, Loewe) 5:03
18 I Could Have Danced All Night (Lerner, Loewe) 4:04
19 On the Street Where You Live (Lerner, Loewe) 3:48

Personnel [# 1-11] Creed Taylor Presents : Know Your Jazz (ABC-Paramount ABC115)
Billy Taylor - p
Oscar Pettiford - b
Kenny Clarke - dr
plus special guests
Jimmy Cleveland - tb
Donald Byrd - tp
Joe Roland - vb
Al Cohn - bs
Charlie Rouse - ts
Gigi Gryce - as
Tony Scott - cl
Mundell Lowe - g
Recorded in New York ; March 13 & 21, 1956.
[# 12-19] Billy Taylor - My Fair Lady Loves Jazz (ABC-Paramount ABC177)
Ernie Royal - tp
Don Elliott - tp, meloph & bng
Jimmy Cleveland - tb
Jimmy Buffington - fr hrn
Don Butterfield - tb [# 13]
Jay McAllister - tb [# 12, 14-19]
Anthony Ortega - as & ts
Charles Fowlkes - bs [# 13, 14, 17 & 19]
Gerry Mulligan - bs [# 12, 15, 16 & 18]
Al Casamenti - g
Billy Taylor - p
Earl May - b
Ed Thigpen - dr
Recorded in New York ; January 8 [# 13] ; January 22 [# 14, 16 & 18] ; & & 22, 1957 [all others]

Recorded at a time when My Fair Lady was a big Broadway hit (but a few years before it became a film), this CD reissue brings back one of the very best jazz interpretations of the classic score. The focus throughout is on the Billy Taylor trio (which included bassist Earl May and drummer Ed Thigpen), but Quincy Jones' arrangements for the seven horns are quite memorable. There is room for short solos from such players as trumpeter Ernie Royal, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, altoist Anthony Ortega, and baritonist Gerry Mulligan, and their presence clearly inspires pianist Taylor to some of his finest playing. Highly recommended.
Scott Yanow

Source :

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Charlie Rouse

Charlie Rouse's debut as a leader (not counting his earlier work co-leading Les Jazz Modes with the great French horn player Julius Watkins) was made for Jazzland and is available as an OJC CD. The distinctive tenor saxophonist, who had just started a decade-long stint as a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet, teams up with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Earl May, and drummer Art Taylor. Together they perform straight-ahead material including Rouse's own uptempo "Upptankt," the standard "They Didn't Believe Me," and songs by Mitchell, Kenny Drew, and Randy Weston. A fine modern mainstream jam session-flavored set.
Scott Yanow
Source :

Charlie Rouse Quintet
Takin' Care of Business


1 Blue Farouq (Mitchell) 7:24
2 204 (Weston) 7:24
3 Upptankt (Rouse) 4:42
4 Wierdo (Drew) 5:59
5 Pretty Strange (Weston) 5:14
6 They Didn't Believe Me (Kern, Reynolds) 6:52

Charlie Rouse - ts
Blue Mitchell - tp
Walter Bishop - p
Art Taylor - b
Earl May - dr

Recorded in New York ; May 11, 1960

Monday, June 29, 2009

John Coltrane

Lush Life (1958) is among John Coltrane's best endeavors on the Prestige label. One reason can easily be attributed to the interesting personnel and the subsequent lack of a keyboard player for the August 16, 1957 session that yielded the majority of the material. Coltrane (tenor sax) had to essentially lead the compact trio of himself, Earl May (bass), and Art Taylor (drums). The intimate setting is perfect for ballads such as the opener "Like Someone in Love." Coltrane doesn't have to supplement the frequent redundancy inherent in pianists, so he has plenty of room to express himself through simple and ornate passages. Unifying the slippery syncopation and slightly Eastern feel of "I Love You" is the tenor's prevalent capacity for flawless, if not downright inspired on-the-spot "head" arrangements that emerge singular and clear, never sounding preconceived. Even at an accelerated pace, the rhythm section ably prods the backbeat without interfering. A careful comparison will reveal that "Trane's Slo Blues" is actually a fairly evident derivation (or possibly a different take) of "Slowtrane." But don't let the title fool you as the mid-tempo blues is undergirded by a lightheartedness. May provides a platform for Coltrane's even keeled runs before the tenor drops out, allowing both May and then Taylor a chance to shine. The fun cat-and-mouse-like antics continue as Taylor can be heard encouraging the tenor player to raise the stakes and the tempo — which he does to great effect.The practically quarter-hour reading of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" is not only the focal point of this album, it is rightfully considered as one of Coltrane's unqualified masterworks. The performance hails from January 10, 1958 as Coltrane sits in with Red Garland (piano), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Paul Chambers (bass), and Louis Hayes (drums). Coltrane handles the tune's delicate complexities with infinite style and finesse. Garland similarly sparkles at the 88s, while Byrd's solo offers a bit of a tonal alternative. It should be noted that the reading here does not include a vocal from Johnny Hartman. That version can be found on the ever imaginatively monikered John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (1963).
Lindsay Planer

John Coltrane
Lush Life
(Trio, Quartet and Quintet)


1 Like Someone in Love (Burke, VanHeusen) 5:00
2 I Love You (Porter) 5:33
3 Trane's Slo Blues (Coltrane) 6:05
4 Lush Life (Strayhorn) 14:00
5 I Hear a Rhapsody (Baker, Fragos, Gasparre) 6:01

John Coltrane - ts
Earl May - b
Arthur Taylor - dr
John Coltrane - ts
Donald Byrd - tp [#4]
Red Garland - p
Paul Chambers - b
Albert Heath - dr [#5]
Louis Hayes - dr [#4]

Recorded in Hackensack, New Jersey on May 31 and August 16, 1957 ; and January 10, 1958

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Billy Taylor Trio with Candido

Having already dedicated half of 1953's Cross Section to numbers with Machito's band, it was no surprise that Bill Taylor's 1954 follow-up, Trio with Candido, would feature more Latin touches — this time with star Cuban conga player Candido. In line with fellow jazz pianists George Shearing and Red Garland, Taylor doesn't incorporate the Cuban clavé beat so much as he includes the percussion for accentuation. In spite of this, Candido offers up some provocative solos, especially on the fast-paced Taylor original "A Live One," which features the pianist and percussionist trading an energetic set of fours. Medium to slow-tempo Taylor originals, though, dominate the program, including "Bit of Bedlam," where the chaos is decidedly cool. Throughout the album, Taylor uses his fleet, Teddy Wilson-informed solo chops to pleasant effect, even stretching out a bit on "Mambo Inn" to complement Candido's own lengthy workout. A very nice program of Latin-tinged bop numbers which unfortunately has not found its way to CD, but occasionally can be found on LP. For at least some of Taylor's Latin forays, there is the CD reissue of Cross Section.
Stephen Cook

Billy Taylor
The Billy Taylor Trio


1 Mambo Inn (Bauza, Sampson, Woodlen) 4:51
2 Bit of Bedlam (Taylor) 5:14
3 Declivity (Taylor) 4:41
4 Love for Sale (Porter) 7:46
5 A Live One (Taylor) 2:50
6 Different Bells (Taylor) 6:30

Billy Taylor - p
Earl May - b
Percy Brice - dr
Candido - cong & bg dr

Recorded in Hackensack, New Jersey ; September 7, 1954.