Derrick Bang of The Davis (California) Enterprise writes:
The Keith Taylor Trio’s O Christmas Tree-O (Startlingly Fresh Records) is a seasonal joy from start to finish: a delectable example of the sort of trio piano jazz I could listen to forever. Taylor is joined on piano by Jim Cavender (bass) and Tom Branch (drums), and tenor saxman Greg Chambers sits in for a few tracks.
“The lengthy tracks allow plenty of improv work.... Taylor demonstrates his inventive keyboard work with the album-opening ‘The Second First Noel,’ which also benefits from the first of Cavender’s many slick bass solos. Taylor and Cavender trade licks on several tracks; I’m particularly impressed by their work on the mid-tempo handling of ‘Once in Royal David’s City.’
‘O Christmas Tree’ is an up-tempo finger-snapper, with a truly cookin’ bass solo from Cavender. An equally lively rendition of ‘We Three Kings’ proves that these heads of state really know how to groove on a track that boasts numerous tempo changes.
“But as much as I enjoy this trio’s faster selections, the slower pieces truly shine. ‘Silent Night’ and ‘I Wonder As I Wander’ are soft and mysterious: both lovely readings of these gentle carols. Chambers’ sax work highlights an unexpectedly slow and sentimental reading of ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ a song usually given a lively up-tempo reading that emerges here as a lament (Which I guess makes sense; Frosty did melt, after all!).
“The album closes with another quiet one: ‘Some Children See Him,’ introduced with Taylor’s gentle keyboard work, which guides this lovely standard — and the entire album — to a perfect conclusion. Great job, guys.
— The Davis Enterprise, December 10, 2009
Primary Instrument: Guitar
Location: Huntsville, AL
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
* Part-time instructor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (private guitar and bass instruction, jazz combo director)
* Staff bass player at Berklee Summer Guitar Sessions 2009
* Guitar teacher at WC Handy Music Festival Band Camp 2010 and 2011