magical moments – part 1; John Taylor

Whenever I’m asked questions like “… who is you favorite singer/ pianist/ … whatever” I’m always stumped and always feel a bit disappointed that I don’t have instant recall of those magical moments from my listening past. Similarly, best ever gigs, films, meals or moments are tricky.

It seems to be worth trying to remember a few though if only to re experience an echo of the pleasure -so here goes.

At Cheltenham Jazz festival a few years ago, I went to see a band billed as the John Taylor Quartet. I think the band was Taylor, John Surman, Tony Levin (drums) and Chris Laurence (bass).

What stays in memory is the feeling of being there. Time and again a theme would be played (0n sax or piano) very subtly, with minimal accompaniment but then after a minute or two I would realise the music had developped an unstoppable momentum, it would be swinging and pushing forward but that this moment had ‘crept up’ on me; “when did they start doing that?” I’d ask myself. The sound was exquisite as well – to my ears the chords from the piano, sax and bass blended to make a sound that, in foody terms, was the perfect blend of flavours – savoury but not too bitter, dissonant but beautiful.

I’ve seen John Taylor many times and that sense is often present with his bands; perhaps that occasion in Cheltenham was the first time I’d heard it bit its a little treasure rescued from my memory… think I’ll go and search for a few more.


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