On this first release by his current working trio, renowned pianist, educator, and jazz spokesman Billy Taylor belies 75 years of life with his cheerfully infectious, flawlessly articulated performances of six standards and five of his 300-odd compositions. Of the latter, we hear the swinging, gospel-grooved, civil rights anthem, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” the Oscar Pettiford-inspired “One For The Woofer,” a feature for bassist Chip Jackson in appropriately acoustic sound and style, the alternately bluesy and lyrical “Ballade” and “Interlude,” and “Arkadia Blues,” which is kicked along mightily in both ensemble and solo by drummer Steve Johns. The standards range from Broadway’s “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” through “Lover, Come Back To Me” and “Body And Soul” to Coltrane’s “Naima,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring” and Juan Tizol’s “Caravan,” which also spotlights Johns.
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