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One of the great things for me at IHS 2011 this summer was meeting and hearing jazz hornist Mark Taylor. For several years now we have both been regulars on the podcast The Mellocast but had not met in real life. Episode 126 for the week of September 4 focuses on IHS 2011, with on the spot live reporting from Mark Taylor and Chris Nalls. If you were not there this episode is particularly worth listening to, it gives a great window into what you would experience at a horn workshop, trying horns, going to sessions and concerts, etc. You can hear the podcast either through The Mellocast website or on iTunes.
For those who are unfamiliar, The Mellocast is a podcast on all things middle brass with actually a lot of focus on the French horn. Episode 125 was for example on the topic of summer camps. Episodes feature a listening assignment and on that episode it was a track from At What Age, the new CD of Mark Taylor. This is another episode well worth listening to but also it allows me to offer a brief CD review as well.
The last few weeks I have been listening to At What Age off and on, and I have found it very enjoyable. It is, for me at least, a bit of a window into a jazz scene that I can’t experience easily. His notes set the stage pretty well for the CD.
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This CD has also been a journey for me. I had a steady gig … at the now defunct Spoken Words Café in Brooklyn that NO ONE ever came to. Why they kept having us back is beyond me, but what is important is that after almost a year of playing there – sometimes monthly, sometimes weekly – the group of players on this recording had transformed from a bunch of musicians into a band…. The Spoken Words Café is also where I began working with the two poets you’ll hear on this disc. Les Lopes came to one of our performances and soon I was writing new tunes to accompany Les’ words. Les introduced me to EJ Antonio, who recently told me that it was her experience reading with my band that started her on a path of combining jazz with her poetry…. I’ve often played on her gigs since then and she even recorded a poem that she wrote to go with one of my tunes on her new CD!
I find the horn and vibe playing on the recording to be particularly engaging. The project includes tracks with spoken words, including the title track, but the majority are instrumental. If I were to pick a personal favorite track it would be the same track that Al Perkins chose for The Mellocast, Furious George. Check out their episode 125, Taylor gives more background on this track and the CD there toward the end of the episode.