Billy Taylor

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free

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Billy Taylor's credentials as a performer, composer, and jazz educator are all considerable at the start of the 21st century, yet it is frustrating that many of his rewarding records from the 1950s and 1960s, such as this live date for Tower, remain hard to find. With a trio that includes bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Grady Tate, Taylor keeps his audience thoroughly entertained. The pianist's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" was a major success for singer Solomon Burke, yet his own version would be hard to top. Initially played with Tucker on arco bass as a pure gospel-like tune, it develops into a bluesy setting with the addition of Tate's funky percussion. "T N T" is a composition by Tucker and Tate, a strutting blues (which eventually had lyrics added by Bob Dorough and was sung by the drummer) which is anchored by Tucker's booming bassline. Leroy Vinnegar's "Hard to Find" is another gospel-flavored work, with Tate's interesting percussion backing the leader's delicious piano. This undated release, which was evidently put out by a Capitol subsidiary, is well-worth searching for.

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