Circle Down

wonderfully warm work from drummer Chad Taylor -- a set that really unlocks a lyricism that's always lingered in his music -- but which never came to the forefront quite so strongly before! The album's a trio effort -- with Angelica Sanchez on piano and Chris Lightcap on bass -- and it bubbles along with a beautiful sort of energy -- almost reminding us of 60s magic from pianists like Don Friedman or Steve Kuhn -- modern, yet never too much so -- always with a sense of poetry, and a strong undercurrent of humanity. Taylor's inherent swing comes into play strongly, even in subtle moments -- and titles include "Opal", "No Brainer", "Traipse", "Rock", "Specifica", "Box Step", "Pablo", and "Pascal" -Dusty Groove

Whether providing exquisite "cymbalism" in "Miriam" (a lovely tune dedicated to his wife), or delivering Brazilian carnivalesque fare with hard bop rhythms in "Pablo," Taylor threads an array of astounding patterns and cadences. The trio's intensity is hyper-punctuated by "Pascal" where Lightcap's reverberating bass cuts the path for Taylor's ubiquitous drumming and Sanchez's emblazoned keys. There are some recordings that just sparkle with energy and Taylor's Circle Down is one of them. -allaboutjazz

In many ways this is not your typical jazz trio since they play no standards, consistently change directions and move in unexpected ways. Just when you think you have a handle on what they do, they are off and confounding all expectations. Another gem from the fine folks at 482 music. - Downtown Music Gallery

His new solo record, Circle Down, is a piano-trio session that avoids typical piano-trio clichés through rhythmic independence and "flipping the roles of the instruments." Each player has the opportunity to seize the spotlight at any moment, and the results are a kind of swinging chamber music, beautiful as a kinetic sculpture gleaming in the sunlight. -Village Voice

A potential equal to almost any of today's modern piano trio's Taylor, Sanchez and Lightcap bring a smart, nuanced intimacy to their collaboration- the compositions all feel fresh and the performances are definitely alive. -Jazz Times

One of the most interesting piano bass and drum trios I have heard in a while. While Taylor is nominally the leader, the three voices have equal status and work well together to make consistently original and interesting music. - Tim Niland Music and More

...an exquisitely balanced collective statement encompassing knotty latin jazz, rainy day musings and sly compositional elegance - Time Out New York

Chad Taylor's Circle down trio with pianist Angelica Sanchez and Bassist Chris Lightcap stake out their place in the piano trio tradition. This is a trio that know how to exploit the tension between individual and collective that fuels so much of the drama in improvisation. And they use that inner dynamic to create extraordinary beautiful music - Ed Hazel Point of Departure


As an important contributor to the Chicago underground creative music scene, drummer and composer Chad Taylor has been on the rise, even leading his own groups. Circle Down should elevate him much further nationally and internationally, a beautiful statement of modern jazz music played with attractive melodic content courtesy of pianist Angelica Sanchez, the deft bass musings of Chris Lightcap, and Taylor's spot-on rhythmic shadings, mid-level urgency, and a taste factor that should appeal to many stripes of listeners. This set of originals — with no scent of standards — is played with ease, grace, and dynamism, especially from the viewpoint of Sanchez. She is developing into a first-rate post-Geri Allen performer whom everyone should be paying close attention to in the coming years. Playing pretty on "Box Step" or in sneaking, tip-toe refrains through raucous discourse during the steadied beats of "Rock," Sanchez proves an able and original musician that can transcend both time and space. Lightcap continually emerges as a force of natural rhythmic propulsion, via his probing, two-note musings on "No Brainer," setting up, then establishing a rolling stream of consciousness between Sanchez and Taylor. The Asiatic flavor of "Traipse" is undeniably lovely, another example of how this trio dedicates itself to a certain sophistication wise beyond its years. Where the first half of the program concentrates on the compositions of Sanchez and Lightcap, Taylor's pen takes over on the remainder of the session. "Opal" is a lithe theme in 6/8 time, and "Level" is only slightly diffuse but more elusive, à la Allen or perhaps Cecil Taylor. There's the short waltz "Miriam"; a repeat Latin/Spanish sentiment to variation from Sanchez pervading "Pablo"; and Taylor finally getting a workout for "Pascal" with Lightcap, as Sanchez rambles on. Every selection is finely crafted and thoughtfully performed, and it is rare that any modern jazz effort is so satisfying from start to finish. What is even more remarkable is that there is no wasted motion, no histrionics or grandstanding, as pure emotion is translated to superlative music making on this most highly recommended recording, one for the ages. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi