Dr. Billy Taylor: Just The Thought Of You


Just the Thought of You


Billy Taylor (piano)


Dr. T (GRP 9692)

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Billy Taylor (piano), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Victor Gaskin (bass),

Bobby Thomas (drums)


Composed by Billy Taylor


Recorded: New York City, 1992


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Although the now 88 year-old Billy Taylor and the late Gerry Mulligan were close friends for decades, they had only recorded together once before prior to Taylor's 1992 Dr. T session, that being on the pianist's 1957My Fair Lady Loves Jazz album. In 1992 Taylor was also the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, and the track "Just the Thought of You" reminds us once again of his playing and composing skills, sometimes overlooked due to his prominence as a prime advocate for all things jazz. Mulligan's fervent contribution is just the icing on the cake.

Written for his daughter Kim, Taylor's ballad "Just the Thought of You" rivals in its graceful beauty the standard with a similar title, "The Very Thought of You." Taylor executes an enticing, undulating intro that leads to Mulligan's heartfelt rendering of the touching theme. Mulligan plays it with a supple, well-rounded tone, which hardens at times during his solo for added expressiveness. His circular phrases, and the extended lines that encompass them, are artfully and cogently resolved. Taylor's improv takes rhapsodic flight when he guides a fetching motif through a variety of arpeggiated modulations. Mulligan begins an equally absorbing second solo that gradually segues back to the memorable theme. Taylor / Mulligan collaborations should have come more frequently. (A 1993 meeting, Live at MCG, was released in 2007.)

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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