“…one of contemporary jazz’s great performers…” so reads the prestigious Guardian newspaper’s assessment of English pianist John Taylor. As house pianist at London’s legendary Ronny Scott’s jazz club, Taylor accompanied many of the icons of jazz, and in so doing honed his individual style into what became one of the most important voices on the European jazz scene. The gigs and recordings of his own groups, his long-time association with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, his many ECM trio recordings with Peter Erskine and Palle Danielsonn and groups lead by the likes of Jan Garbarek and John Surman established Taylor’s importance.
Taylor’s 1973 MPS trio album Decipher features two top players, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Tony Levin, who perfectly compliment Taylor’s wide-ranging style on an album that offers the listener a delicious taste of his compositions. The virtuoso sprint of Cipher melds into the varying tempos and emotions of Wait For Me, whereas Leaping is a pointillist abstract exchange between the three. The emotive jazz waltz Speak to Me plays some magical slight-of-hand with the time, and Song For a Child sings out as a soft-spoken ballad. White Magic powers through as a hard-swinging elixir for all that ails. Taylor’s second album as leader presents a master composer/player at full maturity – what a joy that this music is available once again.