Friday, September 04, 2015

Listening to Prestige Part 142: Billy Taylor

This is a landmark in Prestige history. 1955 must have been the year that Prestige made the switch to the 12-inch LP format, and began their 7000 series of recordings, and this was the first one made for that release -- Prestige PRLP 7001. From here on, the 7000 series will be a mixture of new recordings and repackagings of recordings made for 78, for 45 RPM EP, and for 10 inch LPs.

This is the classic Billy Taylor Trio, with Percy Brice handling the drum duties.

If you were building a well-rounded jazz collection, you might not include every Billy Taylor album in it. Not that they aren't all worthwhile, but if you got all of them, you might not have time to listen to all of them, while still maintaining your status as well-rounded jazzophile. But you would certainly want to have at least one representative album--maybe at least two, so that you'd have one Latin and one straight-ahead. And whichever ones you picked, you really couldn't go wrong.

Certainly you wouldn't be going wrong with this one--and it has the added historical value of being Prestige's first 12-inch LP. Taylor's playing is technically impeccable, emotionally compelling. I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite track, but maybe "Day Dreaming" as a ballad, and "A Grand Night For Swingin'" for a livelier tempo. "Swingin'" is a Taylor original. He's a prolific composer, and one of the best. "Day Dreaming" is Jerome Kern.

The album is entitled A Touch of Taylor, and that was a formulation that seemed to appeal -- a later album for Atlantic is called The Taylor Touch.

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