Dave Taylor (1944, Brooklyn, NY) has been working on this trio project and conspiring with me and others about it for about 18 months. I remember the original discussions, ideas, various incarnations, maneuverings, canceled recording dates, the workings, re-thinkings, and rejections. And finally we arrived at the recording date; Dave had won me over to his side: that of confusion. And about all I knew at this point was he wanted 5 music stands (for a trio) and there might be a talking metronome involved. So, there's a matter of trust, which is the best way to approach art, on both sides of the mic. Dave trusts us to get it right and we trust Dave to give it right. Having seen Dave in action in The Spirit Room 3 previous times, I had confidence and anticipation. And with Dominic Duval (1944, NYC, NY) and Jay Rosen (1961, Philadelphia, PA)—not the house rhythm section—I had further assurance of musical integrity.
The trio arrived late afternoon and we enjoyed a low-key dinner, more a time among friends rather than a preliminary to an event. They set up. Never has a trio taken up so much room in The Spirit Room, 4-1/2 music stands between Dominic and Dave, Jay's expanded percussion set-up, a couple of trombones and stands, tables of mutes and other paraphernalia along with the usual mics and audio equipment. It all left little space to move, but, most importantly, lots of space for musical maneuvering.
Dave opened with Morning Moon (Elohai N'Shomo) and, a few minutes into it, his enthusiasm got the better of him as he vocalized unexpectedly directly into the mics, defeating their diaphragms. Obviously distressed at having to curtail his muse, he worked out new logistics with Marc. As is often the case, nice polite soundchecks do not always accurately reflect the enthused dynamics that a good get-together can inspire.
Dave seemed particularly focused and decisive, confidently directing the trio with reasonably precise directions as to the color, dynamics, and other musical strategies he wanted to achieve.
The first night we finished about half the program (Morning Moon/ Tammuz/ Exercitium/ Mazooma/ Kislev) before giving into the mental fatigue of multiple takes. The next morning, refocused, Dave opened with Very Old Dance, a stunning example of the kind of inventive narrative this unique bass trombonist iscapable of and it includes what Dave euphemistically likes to call his surprise ending. As the temperatures dropped and the falling snow piled higher, Dave brought out the metronomes and their digital voices and, with this, a whole set of preparations to the studio space and instruments. It was time for the theater of Dave and the kind of odyssey that trombonists, more so than others, seem prone to. I will admit to being skeptical during the preliminaries, even to some friendly mocking of Dave, but all's well that ends well—and in one take. Also, on one take, there is a lovely solo trombone outing based on a Bach text (Exercitium...).
The session ended with Oh Lord..., which somehow seemed a fitting conclusion to a fine example of all the things you could be if your name was David Taylor.
Robert Rusch - March 12, 2004