“A family project” is how Alex Taylor, singer-songwriter as well as John’s son, labels the English pianist’s latest album. And that is exactly what it is, considering that John, who wrote the music, and Alex, who wrote and sang the lyrics, are joined by Leo Taylor on drums. Oren Marshall on tuba, whose surname is not Taylor but who is most assuredly very close to the Taylor family, completes the quartet.
Together they recorded the album entitled “2081” drawing inspiration from Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron”, published in 1961. John Taylor was commissioned to write the music to this album by BBC Radio 3 for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Originally written for octet, it was then readapted for the “2081” quartet. Alex explains: “Vonnegut’s story depicts a dystopian future in which everyone is equal. Nobody is allowed to be smarter, better looking or more physically able than anyone else. Those individuals who are gifted with intellect, talent and so on are made to bear ‘handicaps’”.
At times, John Taylor’s musical realm is reassuring and consistent with his own standards, while, at other times, it conveys the mysterious, unsettling future depicted by Vonnegut, by pursuing a hybrid sound, mingling jazz, pop and the soundtrack mood. This pursuit definitely benefits from the sonic scenarios opened by Marshall’s tuba, as well as the Leo’s drumming style (already launched on a brilliant career on the indie-rock scene with his band The Invisible), who very often introduces modern, offbeat hypnotic rhythms here. Alex further explains: “I wanted to be able to tell a love story within the world Vonnegut created, from a standpoint external to the novella but very much in that theme”.
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