Not the Best "Cross Section"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 02/16/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Of all the hundreds of remaindered OJC discs I have picked up at Newbury Comics in the past year, Billy Taylor's "Cross Section" has to be among my least favorites. While I knew of Billy Taylor thanks to his meaningful musical contributions on CBS Sunday Morning, I did not have anything by him in my collection, so I picked up "Uptown" (much better!) and this title in the bargain bins. "Cross Section" initially intrigued me because it contained two sessions -- tracks 1-8 are from a July 1954 trio session feautring Earl May on bass and Percy Brice on drums, and the remaining four selections showcase Taylor (and May) with Machito's rhythm section (!) from May 1953. I thought, how can this be bad? Well, here's how. The trio tracks don't sound very good, the original compositions are nothing special, and the playing is rather uninspired throughout. Surely Machito would save the day...wrong! It seems impossible, but Taylor's mambos are the most simplistic, pedestrian accounts I have ever heard. Even the great percussion playing doesn't rescue it completely. If you're curious about Billy Taylor like I was, get "Uptown" or the excellent trio sessions on Lone Hill Jazz (another find from Berkshire Record Outlet), but steer clear of "Cross Section.""