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Dylan Taylor: One in Mind (Blujazz)

Review of album by Dylan Taylor, Philadelphia-bred bassist

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If One in Mind emits a certain casualness, that’s at least partially by accident. Bassist Dylan Taylor, who’s worked largely in the Philadelphia scene as a sideman for the past two decades, only released his first leader session, Sweeter for the Struggle, four years ago. For this sophomore outing he gathered two longtime colleagues, guitarist Larry Coryell and drummer Mike Clark, for what was supposed to be an intimate “live in the studio” workout. Due to a blizzard, only a few brave souls turned up, but the trio went ahead and played anyway. It turned out to be one of Coryell’s final recordings; he passed in February.

At the gig, the trio performed five pieces penned by Coryell—half of what’s presented here. Of the rest, three are by Taylor, one is co-written by Clark (with Jed Levy) and the last is Bud Powell’s “John’s Abbey.” It’s a good cross-section of styles, ranging from Clark’s self-explanatory “Loft Funk” to two gentle swingers by Coryell, “Alabama Rhap Corollary” and “Jumbo Liar.”

PHoto of Larry Coryell
Larry Coryell

Throughout, Coryell seems at ease, content to spill out licks and complementary chording that employ a less complex route than he was often wont to take. Although nominally the lead instrument, he takes great care to leave plenty of openings for Taylor, who opts for a rich melodic approach, making his presence known at all times without dominating the proceedings. Clark keeps things moving with both sturdiness and grace. On “Hittin’ and Missin’,” the rhythm section struts in style, steps aside just long enough to give Coryell a chance to rip, then evens things up for the home stretch. For the Powell number, it’s time for all three to kick up some major dust. But not until the finale, Coryell’s “Dragon’s Gate,” do they cast away all restraint and truly go for it without looking back.

Preview, buy or download songs from the album One In Mind by Dylan Taylor Allen on iTunes.

Originally Published