Mike Taylor died, probably by his own hand, at age 31 in 1969, having realised a fraction of his potential as a composer and player, and written for the New Jazz Orchestra, singer Norma Winstone and the rock band Cream. Cream's singer and bassist Jack Bruce and Ron Rubin (occasionally) are on acoustic bass here, with Jon Hiseman on drums, a line-up that highlights the close links between 1960s Britain's creative rock and R&B scenes and the jazz of the time.
Taylor is a highly rhythmic pianist whose dense chord clusters often travel in tandem with Hiseman's sensitive and flexible percussion. His handling of standards such as All the Things You Are is enigmatically fascinating, while his own rhapsodically wayward Just a Blues is a lot more than just a blues. And the improvisation against Hiseman's brushes and Bruce's emphatically voluble bass on While My Lady Sleeps is the kind of extended long narrative on a standard that Bill Evans was feted for. A unique and very affecting set. -John Fordham