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From MSNBC Web site -
Recapturing the Banjo

Otis Taylor, "Recapturing the Banjo" Bluesman Otis Taylor gathers an all-star cast of fellow blues revivalists and banjoists Keb Mo, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Guy Davis, Don Vappie to pay brilliant tribute to the instrument rooted in the legacy of African-American music. Spurning banjo stereotypes (from minstrelsy to bluegrass) and keying in on the instrument's rhythmic versatility, Taylor covers a broad swath of stylistic ground, including rocking blues, funky swagger, jazz-inflected melody, Creole dance, old-timey jug band and country blues. And in testament to the banjo's role in a rock setting, Taylor nods to Jimi Hendrix in his charged rendition of Hey Joe. Billboard 2/8/2008


USA Today - February 12, 2008 -
Recapturing the Banjo

Otis Taylor, Recapturing the Banjo: * * * -- Banjo blues Best known for its presence in the American folk and bluegrass scenes, the banjo has a history that traces back four centuries to the African xalam. Taylor, a multi-instrumentalist who has played the acoustic and electric banjos throughout his career, eloquently argues here for a renewed place in the blues with Creole songs and jug-band tunes, as well as his own haunting, history-steeped originals. Joined by bluesmen such as Keb Mo, Guy Davis, Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood Hart, Taylor takes the banjo down alternate paths where Earl Scruggs might as well have never existed. Mansfield


Recapturing the Banjo -
Downbeat Magazine - 5 stars

Downbeat Magazine now on sale


The Huffington Post (political online news service) -
revs Recapturing the Banjo

bluesman Otis Taylor releases a very early contender for Best Record Of 2008. A record that oozes sincerity and moves musical mountains, Recapturing The Banjo, is NOT just 10 versions of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Taylor's point here is to show that the banjo and the music played on this instrument did not originate from Kentucky or the Carolinas, but in Africa Please don't let Recapturing The Banjo slip through the cracks. The Huffington Post

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Recapturing the Banjo -
REVIEWS FOR NEW ALBUM

There is a history lesson to be learned here, but Recapturing the Banjo doesn't aim to be a musicologist's wet dream-banjos (even in the hands of Bela Fleck) have never sounded this vibrant. Harp

“The album shifts from impossibly haunting dirges to downright bouncy ditties without sounding like a thrown-together pastiche. The album, which is mostly originals with a few rearranged traditionals, is so strong in songwriting it's pretty stellar throughout, with fleshed-out stories of slaves, black cowboys and good-old alcohol. There's enough of Taylor's trademark one-chord trance playing to keep it all driving Relix

“Lyrically, Taylor speaks out against prejudice from both the black male and female as well as from the native Indian's perspective. The exciting version of Hey Joe does Hendrix proud here with Taylor and Youngblood Hart mixing the banjo, absolutely mesmerizing lap steel, and Taylor's blistering electric guitar lead. This session features brilliant picking and high spirited energy throughout.' Elmore

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Chicago Sun Times -
Definition Of A Circle - #2 of Top 10 Blues Albums of 2007

"Otis Taylor was back at the top of his game with "Definition of a Circle," an album as important as it is hauntingly beautiful. Taylor perfectly blends in the usually frenzied electric guitar of Gary Moore with his own banjo and acoustic guitar strumming". Jeff Johnson

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Amazon Top 10 -
Definition Of A Circle - Top 10 Albums of 2007

"Crackling with hypnotic energy, Otis Taylor's eighth album infuses his cutting-edge blues with a dose of rock'n'roll exuberance. The blasting opener "Little Betty" gets some rocket fuel from blues-rock legend Gary Moore's marvelously expressive, raw guest guitar as well as from drummer John Kelly, whose propulsion ignites several of these dozen tunes. Ultimately, though, Taylor's one-chord magic comes from his knack for repeating catchy riffs until they become a seductive blur--a hip-shaking platform for his colorful explorations of love, war, joy, deprivation, and racial struggle. He's also got a way with textures, spinning dirty guitar, prickly electric mandolin, his daughter Cassie's haunting alto singing, and his own appealingly hoarse baritone into mesmeric arrangements for tunes like the Hurricane Katrina contemplation "They Wore Blue" that owe as much to Pink Floyd as to Muddy Waters. Taylor also pushes the envelope hard with "Long Long Life," which blends jazz star Hiromi Uchara's manic piano improvisations with Ron Miles's free-form cornet as Taylor intones a curse on a disdainful lover. It's a brilliant collision of styles and yet another fiery testimonial to Taylor's unique artistic vision. --Ted Drozdowski

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gibson

Definition Of A Circle
Gibson's Best Blues Albums

Taylor is contemporary blues' greatest visionary as both a songwriter, for his edgy social consciousness, and a soundsmith, for a self-branded "trance blues" approach that makes his music bristle with hypnotic energy.

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Otis plays at 50th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival
Hear Otis in concert at NPR

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Otis Taylor get spot in New York Times Crossword.

Album reviews in the New York Times are standard for Otis Taylor, but the Boulder bluesman reached another level of cultural significance this spring when he spotted his name in the newspaper's esteemed crossword puzzle.


Otis's song, Nasty Letter is featured in the sound track of a
new major motion picture "Shooter", starring Mark Wahlberg.

Hear Otis play in the trailer to a new movie "Shooter".

http://www.shootermovie.com/


Recapturing the Banjo - The Black Banjo Project

"One of the most innovative, thought-provoking blues artists to emerge in the last 20 years." (Billboard)
Upcoming album, Recapturing the Banjo (Feb '08) featuring Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Otis Taylor, and Don Vappie.

See a video on YouTube


Off Beat Magazine - 3/07

Taylor describes in the liner notes thusly: While watching television coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the South, an African-American man from the North wonders who will help. There's only one verse-What would you do / if they wore blue / would you help them / would you help them too? / What would you do / if you had food / would you feed them / would you feed them too? As enigmatic as the significance of blue seems, the song is powerful, with Taylor layering electric and echoed acoustic guitar fills over an essentially static backing. Otis Taylor's blues are self-consciously art, with unconventional instrumentation including the cello on Lifetime of Freedom, he employs four. He takes the essentially repetitive structure of blues to the logical conclusion, often reducing songs to a one or two-chord vamp over which he sings and plays guitar, banjo or piano. The lyrics are typically spare, often only a handful of phrases that gain or change meanings as they are repeated over the song's three or four minutes. The songs typically have a strong social consciousness as well, even if that isn't obvious from the lyrics alone. There's an intriguing privacy to Taylor's art, and his love of drones makes it all the more subtle and hypnotic.
Alex Rawls, Off Beat Magazine - 3-07


Otis Taylor has scored a new Documentary, "Purvis of Overtown"
a Rural Studios Production.

It has shown at these festivals:

  • Miami International Film Festival
  • New York International Independent
  • Film Video Festival
  • The Indie Gathering

THE YEAR'S BEST: RECORDINGS - "Below the Fold"

Greg Kot - Tribune music critic December 11, 2005
#12. Otis Taylor: "Below the Fold" (Telarc)
This Chicago-born, Colorado-based songwriter is a late-blooming visionary.
He may be the world's foremost psychedelic banjo-playing bluesman, and
his groove-based songs underpin lyrics that leave welts on the subconscious.


Paste Magazine - Oct. Nov. 05

Otis Taylor, 3 1/2 stars -- Below the Fold (Telarc)
Contemporary songwriter testifies to the blues’ continued vitality.On his latest, Otis Taylor reclaims the
banjo and fiddle-once mainstays of black string bands-busting out of the gates with opener “Feel Like
Lightning,” a song loosely based on the civil-rights anthem “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round.”
Taylor’s seemingly improvised songs build formidable trance grooves around the exceptional work of his backing musicians, his style resembling a country-folk version of spontaneous,
talking-blues master.
John Lee Hooker. Jim Motavalli

ALBUMS

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TITLE:  Fantasizing About Being Black
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL: Trance Blues Festival
TITLE:  Hey Joe Opus Red Meat
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LABEL: Trance Blues Festival
TITLE:  My World Is Gone
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Contraband
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Clovis People, Vol 3
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Pantatonic Wars and Love Songs
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Recapturing the Banjo
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Definition of a Circle
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Below the Fold
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Double V
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LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Truth is Not fiction
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Respect the Dead
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LABEL:  Northern Blues Music
TITLE:  White African
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LABEL:  Northern Blues
TITLE:  When Negroes Walked the Earth
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LABEL:  Shoelace Music