Billy Taylor: Ten Fingers-One Voice

The most eloquent spokesman in jazz here steps to the 88s alone, together with his opulent technique, encyclopedic sense of the jazz piano tradition, and unlimited storehouse of tunes. What ensues is an 11-entry art exhibit of a consummate jazz pianist, one whose accomplishments on behalf of jazz often overshadow his considerable prowess within that music. Save for three Taylor originals, the music constitutes a potpourri of the tried and true, ranging from such chestnuts as “Laura,” “Night and Day,” and “My Heart Stood Still,” to such jazz hallmarks as “Joy Spring.”

Though he hews closely to the tried and true, Taylor nonetheless invests these familiars with a deeply personal sense of spirit and pluck that begs return listens. Steeped in the Tatum tradition of the orchestral pianist, Lord knows Billy has the technique and the dexterity to make the solo piano setting such a natural. One wonders why it took so long!