Half Notes: Chris Taylor – Nocturnal (2011)

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Guitarist-composer Chris Taylor, at once, brings in familiar fusion influences like Weather Report, Pat Metheny and the Zawinul Syndicate, even while adding these fearless flashes of next-gen electronics — samples, voices, weird keyboard programming, chants, scronks, blips, scratches. It’s jam-packed with aural pokes, the kind of album where Taylor, fronting a backing group that includes keyboardist George Whitty and drummer Dave Weckl among others, dedicates “Green Divided by Blue” to abstract impressionist painter Mark Rothko and then samples a few lines from a Bela Lugosi film for “Bela.” Tracks like “You Know What I’m Saying?” and “Voices in My Head” move with cinematic poise, while “Recluse” creates a memorably paranoid atmosphere. The fizzy jam “Ear to the Rail” is this album’s peak performance, a heady blending of hip hop-ish beats, careening vocal interludes and a series of evocative thoughts on the guitar that run from inside to outside with stirring precision. A fully realized debut, courtesy of Abstract Logix.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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