Art Taylor - Taylor's Wailers (1957/2014) High-Fidelity DSF 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz
Artist: Art Taylor
Title: Taylor's Wailers
Genre: Jazz, Bop, Hard Bop
Label: © Prestige Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1957/2014
Quality: DSF 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: ISO SACD
Recorded: February 25, 1957 (#1, 3-6), March 22, 1957 (#2) at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey
In 1956 drummer Art Taylor formed a group called Taylor’s Wailers. Donald Byrd and Charlie Rouse were members of the working group that debuted at The Pad, a Greenwich Village nightclub on Sheridan Square booked by Bob Reisner, the man who had run the legendary Open Door Sessions. In 1957 Taylor recorded the Wailers for Prestige, adding the alto saxophone of Jackie McLean to the front line. Two of the highlights are the Thelonious Monk compositions, “Well, You Needn’t” and “Off Minor,” with arrangements by Thelonious himself. One track, “C.T.A.,” by Jimmy Heath, is from another session featuring John Coltrane backed by Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Taylor, a potent Prestige studio combination in those days. There have been many distinguished drummer-leaders in jazz. One expects their groups to be rhythmically exciting. Taylor’s Wailers are no exception to this swinging heritage.
Five of the six selections on this CD reissue feature drummer Art Taylor in an all-star sextet of mostly young players comprised of trumpeter Donald Byrd, altoist Jackie McLean, Charlie Rouse on tenor, pianist Ray Bryant, and bassist Wendell Marshall. Among the highpoints of the 1957 hard bop date are the original version of Bryant's popular "Cubano Chant" and strong renditions of two Thelonious Monk tunes ("Off Minor" and "Well, You Needn't") cut just prior to the pianist/composer's discovery by the jazz public. Bryant is the most mature of the soloists, but the three horn players were already starting to develop their own highly individual sounds. The remaining track (a version of Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A.") is played by the quartet of Taylor, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, and bassist Paul Chambers and is a leftover (although a good one) from another session. --Scott Yanow, AllMusic
Art Taylor was a first-choice drummer for Prestige Records for their all-star “jam session” recording dates of the mid to late 1950s. On the side Taylor assembled a group called Taylor’s Wailers that was reformed in the 1990s when Art returned from a two decade stay in Europe. Included in the initial group were Donald Byrd and Charlie Rouse. Bob Weinstock, who headed Prestige was approached and gave a “thumbs-up” for Art to record the Wailers. In 1957, when The Wailers were recorded it did not create the stir that a group of this stature would generate today. Then it was just a recording date for Prestige roster musicians – most went on to super-star status.
Analogue Productions has recently re-issued Taylor’s Wailers in SACD format. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, mono never sounded so good. Art’s tasty drum rolls and stick work are crisp and vibrant, a real step up from the red book CD issue. The same can be said for the Rouse, McLean, and Byrd, whose center stage talents are wonderfully rendered. Witness “Cubano Chant” where McLean’s acidic alto tone and Byrd’s warm mellifluous trumpet are featured. Ray Bryant on piano is the perfect accompanist and Art provides the underpinning glue.
Monk’s “Off Minor” and “Well You Needn’t” provide bop opportunities for band members to show their bona fides. “C.T.A” is the sole track for the Philly contingent of Coltrane, Garland, and Taylor. John and Red were members of Miles Davis Quintet at the time, and as Davis was then a Prestige artist, all was well, and we get the end result with Coltrane fully featured.
We can only dream of being in the recording studio of Rudy Van Gelder when these tracks were laid down. Thanks to Analogue Productions, however, we can get as close to Rudy’s studio, as is legally permissible. For the sound quality and the band personnel, this SACD will get a lot of action on your home audiophile equipment. —Jeff Krow, Audiophile Audition
1 Batland 9:48
2 C.T.A. 4:44
3 Exhibit A 6:13
4 Cubano Chant 6:32
5 Off Minor 5:35
6 Well You Needn't 7:54
Tracks 1, 3-6:
Art Taylor - drums
Donald Byrd - trumpet
Jackie McLean - alto sax
Charlie Rouse - tenor sax
Ray Bryant - piano
Wendell Marshall - bass
Art Taylor - drums
John Coltrane - tenor sax
Red Garland - piano
Paul Chambers - bass
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