Sam Taylor The Bad And The Beautiful (Moodsville 1962)

Sam “The Man” Taylor’s serenades to various dames are of the gutsy variety.


Sam Taylor - The Bad And The Beautiful


Sam Taylor (tenor saxophone), Wally Richardson (guitar), Lloyd G. Mayers (piano), Art Davis (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums)


on February 20, 1962 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


as MV-24 in 1962

Track listing

Side A:
The Bad And The Beautiful
Suzy Wong
Side B:
Song Of The Barefoot Contessa

You’ve heard him without perhaps knowing his name. Sam “The Man” Taylor was omnipresent in the rhythm and blues field, contributing lurid tenor sax to countless songs by artists on the Atlantic and Savoy labels, among those myriad Ruth Brown hits and Big Joe Turner’s Shake, Rattle & Roll, where “The Man”’s husky backing complemented the luscious lyrics “I’m like a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store / Well I can look at you till you ain’t no child no more” …

Lexington, Tennessee-born Taylor was the kind of musician that took different turns on the roundabout of black music. He played in the bands of Lucky Millinder, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and Buddy (not Budd) Johnson. From the mid-50s to the mid-60s, Taylor recorded a string of both commercial and jazz records, the former bearing titles as Rockin Sax & Rollin’ Organ, Blue Mist, More Blue Mist and, hell why not, Mist Of The Orient. The latter included Jazz For Commuters, a satisfying swing record with Thad and Hank Jones, Budd (not Buddy) Johnson and Milt Hinton. In a fortunate and curious turn of events, Taylor became very popular in Japan in the 70s, recording albums like Hit Melodies From Shi Retoko To Nagasaki. Sayonara, Sam.

Prestige/Moodsville, in the guise of the clever A&R man Esmond Edwards, coupled Taylor with guitarist Wally Richardson, pianist Lloyd G. Mayers, bassist Art Davis and drummer Ed Shaughnessy. The result was The Bad And The Beautiful, an accessible record of show tunes that center around the luscious sax playing of Taylor, whose in-your-face strong sound, distinctive note-bending wails and meticulously calculated honk sequences are thoroughly entertaining. Good-old fashioned arpeggios link his breathy introductions to restrained climaxes.

Some may argue that Taylor’s style is built on gimmicks. I feel Taylor’s trick bag is the essence of his “people’s art”. It’s his characteristic bag and I think it would benefit the playing of many serious contemporary saxophonists if they’d pull some witty tricks out of it. There’s nothing in his playing, which strives for the middle ground between Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins, that reeks of cheap sensationalism. Besides, “The Man” has some awfully nasty, bouncing licks to offer.

The Bad And The Beautiful contains a number of excellent ballads, notably the meaty Gloria and the blues-inflected Ruby. Anna swings Caribbean-style, The Barefoot Contessa bounces merrily. Nothing wrong with a “commercial” record that features a smooth and killer jazz band, suave and to-the-point guitar lines and, best of all, a couple of sublimely timed descending bass figures by the great Art Davis that silence The Bad and overwhelm The Beautiful.

Sam Taylor passed away in 1990.

Lloyd G. Mayers A Taste Of Honey (United Artists 1962)

It somehow slipped through the cracks. Lloyd G. Mayers’s A Taste Of Honey, major-league big band organ jazz record.

Lloyd G. Mayers - A Taste Of Honey


Lloyd G. Mayers (organ), Clark Terry, Bernie Glow, Doc Severinsen & Snooky Young (trumpet), Britt Woodman, Paul Falise, Tommy Mitchell & Urbie Green (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Barry Galbraith (guitar), George Duvivier (bass), Ed Shaugnessy (drums), Ray Barretto (bongos), Oliver Nelson (arranger)


in 1962 in Los Angeles


as UA 14018 in 1962

Track listing

Side A:
A Taste Of Honey
The Good Life
Going Up North
Side B:
The Golden Striker
For All We Know
Alone Together

His name may sound like a movie tycoon but Lloyd G. Mayers was a jazz cat. A swinging cat that has decidedly performed under the radar. Presumably, Mayers was based on the West Coast. He was the pianist on tenor saxophonist Sam “The Man” Taylor’s Plays The Black And The Beautiful and organist on Lou Donaldson’s Rough House Blues in 1963. He also played piano on Oliver Nelson’s Impressions Of Phaedra, issued on United Artists in 1962. Coincidentally, A Taste Of Honey was also released by United Artists in 1962. Furthermore, the personnel is virtually similar. My guess is that, when CBS commissioned Nelson to record the soundtrack to the TV movie A Taste Of Honey, the credits somehow ended up with Mayers, perhaps at the instigation of Nelson. The playing of Mayers, who switched from piano to organ for this date, is a prominent feature.

Nelson is the arranger and the band includes trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Urbie Green, guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Ed Shaughnessy. It is a blast from start to finish on many levels. Every track is either intriguing or a stone-cold winner. The album features a refreshing diversity of tunes, some more challenging than usually included in organ groove records: the pop tune A Taste Of Honey, Latin standard Desafinado, blues tune Goin’ Up North, The Good Life, John Lewis’s The Golden Striker, Thelonious Monk’s Jacky-Ing and the ballads For All We Know and Alone Together.

Nelson squeezes every inch out of the orchestra. The sound is booming and made all the more interesting with robust calls and responses between brass and reed and inspiring off-beat accents. Nelson also makes the orchestra breathe by occasionally dividing leading roles between drums and bass and tuba. In this respect, the high drama of Alone Together, transformed from a ballad into an exotic medium-tempo tour de force, is exemplary of the outstanding talent of Nelson as arranger.

The crunchy organ of Mayers is embroiled in a playful dance with the orchestra, bursting out of it like splatters of lava from a volcano. Mayers limits himself to concise little stories, never cheap, always with meaningful simplicity and overwhelming temperament. He is matched by Ed Shaughnessy, whose precise and absolutely crazy amount of good punches lift the session to a higher level. The tension/release device is especially effective during Nelson/Mayers’s daring take of John Lewis’s The Golden Striker. Monk’s Jacky-Ing gradually builds up tension, via a sterling drum intro, fragmentary backdrops of brass and reed to the statements of Mayers and a lurid shuffle, coming to its conclusion with unadulterated orgasm.

Production – the orchestra sounds a bit far off – may not be top-notch. However, A Taste Of Honey is on par with (in some cases on the winning side of) the high-profile big band records of Jimmy Smith on Verve, which also were arranged mostly by Oliver Nelson. It is reminiscent of the way Ray Charles plays organ and of Brother Ray’s instrumental cuts of Genius + Soul Is Jazz. A feat that completely obviates the need for recommendation.