Taylor, Robin - Two-Pack,
The reason that this release is called ‘Two-Pack’ is because it literally is that, two mini CDs with the same cover (although the first is tinted brown and the second green). It is an interesting concept, and a neat way of showing the music as well, as here we have one CD with Taylor’s Free Universe from 2006 and the other being the most recent recordings of Taylor’s Universe in 2010. So it is a brand new release, but half of it stretches back five years. The first CD is by TU, and this contains some great sax which links in with the dynamic drumming, while Taylor provides the rest of the music (guitars, keys, bass). There is a freedom in the music, but there is also a real structure and the combination of the two shows just how powerful jazz can be. There is light, there is shade, and there is real harmony and “The Gost Of Göran” is now one of my favourite TU numbers.
The second disc shows TFU in flight, and here Robin only provides guitar and is surrounded by consummate musicians. The first few times I played this I concentrated on a different instrument, whether it be the bass lines of Assi Roar, the staccato drumming of Rasmus Grosell or the (mostly) lead instruments of Karsten Vogel (sax) and Pierre Tassone (electric violin). It never ceased to amaze me that music that was so complex, and so different, somehow managed to move together and create something that was more than the sum of the parts.
Robin Taylor’s music will always be an acquired taste, and many people will listen to parts of this and ask what is going on (such as when my family come into the room), but for those with an open mind this is yet another strong offering from the prolific Dane.