Friday, December 11, 2009

Trombonist David Taylor in A Most Unusual Recording

David Taylor has played his bass trombone with all kinds of people, from Sinatra to Boulez. He has his own virtuoso approach to the instrument and has made a number of interesting albums under his own name and in the company of fellow trombonist Steve Swell. His Tzadik album Red Sea breaks with a conventional jazz improvisational approach to enter uncharted territory. It's an exploration of Jewish roots, most particularly the cantorial vocal style of Pierre Pinchik. What he does with that is not what one might expect.

The CD is filled with all kinds of unusual musical colors, instrument combinations and moods. There are soundscapes, klezmer-like interjections and so much in between that description almost cannot do the music justice. It is most unusual, most interesting and highly absorbing music with Taylor's trombone expressions the center of it all, but with the surrounding drapery of musical discourse taking the entire project into a rather new realm. It's orchestrally rich without there being an orchestra involved. It's thematically Semitic without having much in the way of the traditional trappings or the instrumentation one might expect. It doesn't groove so much as sprawl. It's almost indescribable. But it's good.

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