Mike Taylor

Remembered

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No matter that Mike Taylor's life story is one of British jazz's most tragic, the ease with which his greatest accomplishments have slipped into obscurity (buried beneath the fanfare that accompanies his work with Cream) is also an unforgivable lapse, as the story of this album proves. Taylor's Remembered was recorded in June 1973, four years after his death, by a clutch of the musicians who were closest to him, either musically or personally -- Jon Hiseman, Neil Ardley, Ian Carr, Norma Winstone, and others. Ten classic Taylor compositions were revisited, under the eye of producer Denis Preston, and the result was both startling (for those who didn't know Taylor's music) and spooky (for those who did). But hopes for a swift -- or even a belated -- release came to naught, and it was 2007, a full 34 years later, before this magical performance was finally shown the light of day. It remains astonishing, ranging across the full spectrum of Taylor's catalog, with every contributor playing their part with astounding strength and vivaciousness. Neil Ardley's woodwind score for "Song of Love" is spellbinding, while the introduction of a synthesizer to the brew -- an instrument that Taylor would surely have seized upon -- makes for some truly magical moments, not least of all when the instrument duets with Winstone across "Summer Sounds, Summer Sights." Liner notes by the clarinetist and saxophonist on the sessions, Dave Gelly, bring added immediacy to the listening experience, and the entire package is nothing short of a sheer delight. If only Taylor's own recordings could be accorded such sympathetic treatment!

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