Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Classic Blues Piano
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 10/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Born in Butte, Montana but raised in Indianapolis, Montana Taylor was a fine blues pianist, whose virtually complete works are collected here.The first four tracks, made for Vocalion in 1929, feature two classic solos and two driving accompaniments (to the dreadful "Jazzbo Boys). Along with a recently rediscovered accompaniment to Lil Johnson (not on this CD), these were Taylor's only recordings until he was located by Rudi Blesh in 1946 and recorded for the Circle label. Tracks 5 - 15 are drawn from these sessions, and feature Taylor solo, singing and accompanying classic blues singer Chippie Hill. For me, the standout tracks are the poignant "Rotten Breaks Blues" and the beautiful "I Can't Sleep". Tracks 16 - 17 are taken from a 1947 "This is Jazz" broadcast, and the poor sound quality is more than compensated for by two dynamic performances. There were Taylor's last recordings: a number of efforts to find and record him further all failed.The remainder of the CD is given over to the St. Louis born & Chicago based blues pianist "Mr Freddie" Shayne. He recorded two solo sides in 1935, and then four tracks for Rudi Blesh in 1946, who accompaniments to Chippie Hill with Lee Collins, John Lindsay and Baby Dodds. Strongly recommended to all lovers of classic blues piano."
Arthur "Montana" Taylor,king of piano blues
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 05/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't miss this record,if you're an addict of piano blues,because you'll discover one of the most unknown,yet most talented and amazing tickler of all times.Arthur "Montana" Taylor seems to have been born in Butte,Montana,in 1903;His father owned the Silver City Club in this town,a cabaret with gambling rooms.Around 1910,the family left for Chicago.Shortly after,they moved to Indianapolis.And if you listen closely to Montana's playing,something will remind you of Leroy Carr's playing,there is the same feeling,the Naptown style.Then,Montana moved to Cleveland,Ohio.His recording carreer consists in those tracks,waxed between 1929 and 1946;then,how long did he lived,did he continue to play,we don't know.His life is almost as mysterious as Blind Blake's.But the fact is that this guy recorded only seventeen tracks,and he'll be remembered as one of the greatest blues piano players of all times; and maybe, simply, the greatest of all times.His 1929 recordings shows an incredible mastery of the instrument ("whoop and holler stomp","Indiana avenue stomp","Detroit rocks").There are shades of Will Ezell and Clarence "Pinetop" Smith in his playing.If you practice the 88 keys,just try to play Montana's left hand on "Indiana avenue",and you'll realize how great and difficult his style was.Of course,it's quite easy to play the notes,but it's terrific to make them swing like he did.After these four tunes,we jump to 1946,to listen to the last tunes MOntana recorded during his life."jailhouse blues","black market blues" and "mistreatin' Mr Dupree" have vocals by Bertha "Chippie" Hill (1905-1950)."lowdown boogie" has that typical Taylor touch,and is based on the classic "bugle call rag"."Sweet Sue" is the famous tune by Fats Waller,and Montana seems to have some troubles with the chords;maybe he only listened to it on the radio,and tried to play it after.
Then comes something that might be considered as the greatest milestones in the history of piano blues,a bunch of incredible tunes,eight masterpieces I treasure for more than twenty years."In the bottom" is an amazing tune,with whistling and vocals by Montana Taylor,a very low down blues,exceptionnal by its simplicity and very emotional playing.Indeed,this man had one of the most prodigious left hand I've ever heard."Rotton break blues" is the same kind of tune,some of the purest blues ever played."I can't sleep" is the masterpiece every musician dreams to play once in his life.An outstanding,terrific piece of music,sometimes reminiscent of Jelly Roll Morton ("sweet substitute","why").If Montana had only recorded this tune,he would rank among the greatest players of all times.This superb blues should urge every blues lover to purchase this record."'fo day blues" and "Montana's blues" are other masterpieces;we also have another version of "Indiana avenue",seventeen years later;finally,"five o'clocks" and the second version of "I can't sleep" were recorded for a radioprogram,same year,1946;the first tune is an incredible boogie,the second one is the same masterpiece as before.
It's very sad to know that Montana Taylor could never live only with his music;by the time of his last recordings (1946),he was completely forgotten.In January,1947,he wrote to Jimmy Ernst and ended his letter with these words : "once in a while I get a chance to play at a rent party,but very seldom".You can easely imagine what where the next years of his life.
It's not easy to write about Mr Freddie Shayne after that.It's very hard for him to be at the end of this cd.Of course he was a good player - just a good one.But he can't be compared with the immense Mr Montana Taylor.I wish you'll have hours and hours of pleasure listening to this essential record."