Otis Taylor ‘Fantasizing About Being Black’

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Otis Taylor album review marquee magazine

Otis Taylor
Fantasizing About Being Black

Otis Taylor has mastered doing a lot with a little. The Boulder-blues legend conveys overflowing amounts of emotion with simple arrangements and unpretentious lyrics, which are spoken as much as they are sung. On his latest effort — his astounding fifteenth release — Taylor follows the path of his earlier work. He cuts the fluff and immediately goes deep, with his thick voice harkening back to Southern field hollers. As intellectual as he is emotional, Fantasizing About Being Black presents a stark poetic lesson on the historical trauma of the African American experience from the voyages of slave ships to the Mississippi Delta. With hypnotic rhythms and repetitive mantras like the “come back to me” call of  the song “Walk On Water,” the “control your mind” message from “Hand In Your Stomach” or the “I want to be free” cry of “D to E Blues” Taylor over and over brings the tracks to a meditative primal hum — a genre that he has singularly developed, which he calls trance blues.

Taylor is joined by violinist Anne Harris, drummer Larry Thompson and bassist Todd Edmunds. Fantasizing also includes appearances by special guests Jerry Douglas on koa wood lap guitar, cornetist Ron Miles and young prodigy lead guitarist Brandon Niederauer.

Taylor departed his longtime label Telarc/Concord and Fantasizing About Being Black will be the debut on his own Trance Blues Festival label.

Swallow Hill Daniels Hall | March 10

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