While Ebo Taylor's name is not familiar to most as one of the pioneers of Afro-beat, it should be. Taylor, the Ghanian composer, arranger, guitarist, and vocalist has been making music since the 1950s, and studied with Fela Kuti at the Eric Guilder School of Music in London from 1962 until 1965. Rather than go the solo path, he opted instead for Accra's studio scene, where he appeared on dozens of singles and albums . He cut a self-titled solo album in 1977 on the local label Essiebons. Tracks from it, another album entitled Conflict, and various singles have appeared in recent years on various European compilations. The Strut imprint, not content to let Taylor's name languish in obscurity, put its money where its mouth was, and paired him with the Afrobeat Academy of Berlin, which includes guitarist J. Whitefield of the Whitefield Brothers and various guests from Europe and Africa.
Hearing an album of Bach arias sung by a countertenor may not be essential for every listener. Many of the high arias from Bach's cantatas weren't the kind of operatic pieces that called for a muscular male voice comparable to those that have tackled Handel's arias in similar collections, and Bach, at least much of the time, wrote for female vocalists. If you enjoy countertenor singing, however, this release by Canadian singer Daniel Taylor may be the Bach album of choice.
It has been a decade since Escape Music released the classic Welcome to America album in 2006 by Taz Taylor and it is a really strong album with none other than Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet on lead vocals. Three years later and Straight Up was released with Keith Slack (MSG) taking the mike stand. The album also featured Don Airey (Rainbow / Deep Purple) on keyboards. After these two really strong releases the Taz Taylor band decided to go instrumental and tour dates ensued with the likes of Ace Frehley, L A Guns, Molly Hatchet, Dokken, Skid Row, MSG and Great White to name but a few. Bringing us up to the present day it's time to return to a line-up that includes a vocalist and so Taz has used the incredible vocal talents of Chandler Mogel (Outloud / Punky Meadows)…
If you go by his recorded output, there’s never a time that trumpeter Taylor Haskins has been normal. His early recordings show an intuitive awareness of the meeting points of post-bop and indie-rock, and his acuity in that particular area resulted in some music that rivaled what other like-minded souls, such as Ben Allison and Kneebody were doing at the time. The passing of time saw Haskins’ sound evolving into music that focused increasingly on melodic possibilities and how they would thrive in different environments. There was the folk-jazz of 2010’s American Dream, the chamber strings of 2014’s Fuzzy Logic and the 2011 electro-acoustic project Recombination. While a strong electronic presence is nothing new for Haskins, Recombination was emblematic of something more definitive. His newest recording Gnosis very much presents itself as the penultimate vision of that particular area of exploration.