This starts with acknowledgements and inspiration, followed by notes on all the songs as well as lyrics to the 5 vocal ones. These notes are more thorough than the version of the CD jacket. Thanks to all who made this possible, whether or not I mentioned you by name.
Several songs/pieces are available in sheet music form for a small fee. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about purchasing a particular piece.
Acknowledgements & Inspiration
Thanks to my friends and family: Arnold Taylor who instilled in me a passion for the instrument, and my mother, Priscilla, for her angelic execution of her favorite composer, Chopin. They provided a music filled home where Broadway was played alongside Brahms. I’ve been blessed by their years of support and strong encouragement to do this project. Art Davidson for noticing in 2005 an old “Bill’s Music” cassette and encouraging me to get back to it; my sister and fellow musician/composer Charlotte Ryerson whose encouragement is beyond words; Paula Ondov; Carolyn Steinbuck and Elaine Miksak for coaching; Peter Temple for leading me gracefully through the studio process; and most of all my fiancee Jaye Alison Moscariello who kept me on point and kept alive the possibility of actually completing this album, co-writing and singing, making the recording sessions go smoothly, creating the images for the jacket, and much more.
Thanks to my musical influences: among them the complex harmonies of Brahms, the nature-based jazz of Oregon and Paul Winter, and the interwoven voices and genius of Bach.
To Paul McCandless from the group Oregon (and the Paul Winter Consort in the 1970’s) – what an honor and joy to have worked with you on this cd, making it more like play than work.
Bill Taylor studied classical piano with his father, Arnold P. Taylor of Essex Connecticut until age 18, continued briefly at Princeton University, and resumed in 1980 and 1981 with Harriet Shirvan in Boston. He credits Jerry Gray of Seattle with teaching him jazz theory. He studied composition at Cornish School in Seattle and briefly with Ken Benshoof.
Further notes to the songs, and lyrics (expanded from the version on the CD jacket). Please see song titles and credits for a full list with timings and credits
1. Belugas. ©1983. In honor of the arctic whales. The feeling of soaring and singing under a cloud deck of ice in the arctic, a world now in transition. The bluesy section came from a then-barely-conscious awareness that the Belugas’ world could disappear. These whales also live in southeast Alaska, and are endangered by development there. To protect the Cook’s Inlet, Alaska population (near Anchorage), visit inletkeeper.org
2. Civil Unrest U.S. Style. ©1995, oboe part ©2011. This song originated towards the end of a sometimes sweet but often tumultuous relationship and holds both those emotions. The sense is of discord amidst apparent ease, and the way we handle protests in the US, as contrasted with the Arab Spring 2011 demonstrations which had an urgency and in a few cases met with substantive change. In a world of nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert, nuclear reactors a time bomb in themselves, a burgeoning population, the technological revolutions, and global warming, there is a lot to pay attention to. Perhaps were we to awaken, we’d have the urgency found in Egypt, for example. More often in the US, we march merrily along, make some vehement speeches against whatever war, then go back to a sheltered and rather abundant life. Exceptions do lead to success, such as civil rights, rights for the unborn, changing corporate practices, and labor rights. To act, contact your favorite organizations and/or visit truthout.org, overpopulation.org, envirolink.org, populationconnection.org
3. Seattle Cascade/Shutters Corners. ©1989 and ©2005. October sun & showers/Catskill village in early September.
4. Release ©2006, lyrics©2010. Bill’s mom Priscilla Alden Taylor (nee Rowe) passed on at age 90 in January, 2010. This piece was one she loved, but the words did not come until 2 days before Jaye and I were to perform this and Mom’s song “Every Time We Meet” at the Anderson Valley Variety Show. We sung it as best we could with so little practice time and in a key way too high. This version is transposed down a fifth. Listeners with parents who have gone on, and those who haven’t, may find some familiar themes here. If inspired, support your local elder and/or hospice organizations.
I love my children to be happy.
What’s new with you Mom? Charlotte’s got a bakery.
Hannah is teaching, playing in San Jose.
Tom and Jeanne expecting, he’s flying a new plane.
Lucy’s kids are doing well, I’m seeing Uncle Jay.
My life is going on in a most pleasant way.
When are you coming here to visit, it’s been way too long?
When we were children everything was made into a song.
Father’s jazzy flute, brother’s boogie woogie
She left Julliard to help her family
Factory in the war, music she wrote
A job at Schirmers she met my Dad had 5 kids
Trips to Vermont and Jersey and New York
Kept house, school lunch, kind words, praising
Now she is running and swimming
Dancing and flying, she’s singing
All new adventures, new worlds to learn and know
Earth body left behind, all life is love and flow
Walker made her so tired, shuffling oh so slow
She learned to ask for help from all of us below
Gathered her children all around her at her time to go
Now she’s with her God.
5. 24 by 8. ©1989, ©1982, ©1985, ©2011. Sort of a classical answer to Days of Future Past by the Moody Blues. The first piece was written at 5 AM in Poland Spring, Maine at a dance camp. The second came after studying with Jerry Gray; he showed me stacked 5ths (“double perfect fifths”) and I had fun with them. The third is actually the first piece I ever wrote, in 1982, because it’s hard to write something bad in a pentatonic scale. The themes of both waltzes were written around 1989-1990 and I elaborated on them for this recording. The fifth piece between the waltzes had a feeling of waiting – a dancer on the sidewalk during rush hour is a perfect image for me, since it’s about fully enjoying life rather than calling something unpleasant to endure until we get to something better. The seventh piece was written as “regrets”, but I think of it more as having worries churning around preventing sleep. The 8th and final piece feels as if one realizes the meaninglessness of those worries and relaxes into dawn sleep, greeting the sunrise with gratitude.
6. Duwamish. ©1982. In honor of Seattle’s polluted river. I was thinking of rapids in its tributaries and calm parts of the river. Check out duwamishcleanup.org, or your own local watershed group.
7. Until, first verse by Bill Taylor with Art Davidson, music by Bill Taylor ©1990 ©2006, second verse ©2011 adapted from spiritual traditions
The music came during a spate of unrequited attractions, in which the right partner was to be the solution to all my angst. The “until” was about waiting until that happened. Several years later some words came, and a session with my friend Art led to some rewriting. In late 2010 I added the second verse; running from Christianity had been an amusing journey when I realized in the 1990’s how kindred the world’s religions and spiritual practices really are, and it made sense to put that realization into this song. “Hare” is the energy of God (like the Holy Spirit). “Krishna” is God himself (like Christ). “Rama” is another name of God (Father/Mother?). “Sri” is an invocation; “Ram” is Rama again, “jai Ram” is praise God, “jai jai Ram” is surrender to God (though my fiancee Jaye thinks this song is about her which has a good deal of truth given that we both believe in powers greater than ourselves and each other). Om and Amen I see as ways to quiet the mind and be in touch with God. “Sakata nindika…” are the 5th and 7th lines of the 7-line Rakhe Rakhan Har chant as part of the evening prayer of the Sikhs. There are several translations which differ; you can scroogle.org them (that is google without the cookies – few or no popups on your screen!), as well as the other Sanskrit words. There are many translations of the Lord’s Prayer and I used portions of the King James version with the Unitarian term of “Father and Mother” for God added.
1. Until I followed your song in my heart
Until I allowed you into my soul
Forgotten my path, my story untold
Whispers of feelings ignored rusted getting old
Wishes and friendships all left, left out in the cold
My heart nearly stopping each breath
God help me find the love divine inside
And with all of your different drumming
Beats into me all the power of true love
For following spirit will bring me home
2. OM OM OM OM
Hare Krishna hare Krishna , Krishna Krishna hare hare
Hare Rama hare Rama, Rama Rama hare hare
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a soul like me
Sri ram Jai ram Jai Jai ram
Our Father and Mother in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name, Thy
Kingdom come Thy will be done
On Earth as in Heaven
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
Sakata nindika dushta kina maibidarian
Jis a simarata sukahoay sagalay duka jai
Until I followed Your song in my heart
Until I allowed You into my soul
8. Of The Woods. ©1983. The piano part of this piece came out one month, a few measures each day. It felt channeled rather than written – more like birth than development of some initial idea. The title is also a play on the last name of my friend and fellow forest worshiper Judith da Silva. The northwestern US forests are a cathedral, and Paul McCandless’s oboe takes flight within it (that part came to me in early 2011 and it flowed as easily as the piano part). To get involved, contact a local organization and/or visit forestcouncil.org, call Save America’s Forests 202-544-9219
9. Elwha Canyon ©2009. (1:31) Melody conceived on a 1984 hike there. The booming of the river far below is heard in the drumlike bass, sometimes distant and sometimes closer. As the first major dam removal for salmon, this river has special meaning; back then there was talk about the need to remove the 2 dams, which is finally happening over 25 years later (it will take several years to complete as there is sediment behind them). The removal is to start 2011-2012. There is an “agreement in principle” to remove 3-4 dams on the Klamath River in Northern CA, and a critical area is the 4 dams on the Snake River in Idaho which flows into the Columbia River, as one of the now-inaccessable tributaries has the cold water environment essential for salmon. Your handwritten letter (more than an email, petition or call) could make a difference; use Startpage.com (cookie-free version of google) these for updates and who to write to, and check on a river near you; visit americanrivers.org
10. Variations on a Theme by Judith ©1985 by Judith da Silva, variations ©2010 by Bill Taylor. Classically inspired, the accompaniment stays constant (except changing to the minor for several variations) while the theme varies around it. The theme came to Judith after hearing an evening of amazing improvisational music in Eugene, OR.
11. Jamaica Plain Bop ©1999, ©2009, sax part ©2011. In Boston I lived on Kenton Rd, Jamaica Plain where this song started. The city’s fast pace and the relative mellowness of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood come together. I completed the piano part in 2008-2009, with a few changes in 2010-11. The sax part I wrote in 2011 as I prepared to record with Paul McCandless. He improvised the long solo with its several moods. He described this piece as what Debussy might have written if he’d incorporated jazz into his music.
12. Mendocino Coast Storm ©2007. Always a sunny glow under a northern CA storm. Many a predicted “humdinger” of a storm has a spell like the eye of a hurricane when the sun comes out, or tries to, and the rain is a very light mist. Compared with the Seattle area with 3-4 layers of dark clouds, the storms do not seem too threatening with the relative light. However, looks are deceiving when one realizes these storms can knock down enough redwood limbs for multi-day power outages in many winters. In the music we can hear the waves and bands of wind-driven rain as well as the sky glow.
13. Parting/Longing For You ©1990. This is for those all-too-short special connections, or for the time apart from a lifelong connection.
14. Straphanger’s Rag ©1984. This was to be the start of a ragtime musical not yet written. It could be theTree Climber’s Rag, or it could be running up and down stairs in New York to catch the N or the AA subway. Jaye came up with the latter image and title.
15. Piano Song, music and lyrics by Bill Taylor ©1989,© 2011
I once had a piano
To soothe my blues my fingers would sing
I thought about a piano
The sense of peace that playing can bring
I looked at some pianos
With bushings, backchecks, felt and many more things
I found a great piano
The joy of hammers ringing 231 strings
I just got a piano
It makes my life so much fuller again
I love you, my piano
I’m living high ‘cause now is when
I get to feel its action
I am alive and it’s been so long
I’m groovin’ with my piano
And look – I’ve got a new song
You help me be creative
I’m hanging out with my newest friend
I’m being with my piano
The skies are clear bright blue again
16. Clear Blue Autumn by Bill Taylor ©1989. Immediately after I bought a Fischer upright (my Steinway was in Seattle and I was “temporarily” in Boston for what became many years), the previous and this song came out. A breezy invigorating interlude is followed by gentle early fall rains which do not last long.
17. I Hear You, music by Bill Taylor © 1989, lyrics by Bill Taylor and Jaye Moscariello © 1989 ©2010.
Also started during that unrequited attraction period, this song now refers to events of 1989, 2007, and 2009-2010. The names are withheld to protect the innocent.
1. I hear you, you hear me
Simple light clarity
Giving love, feeling love return
Reaching out, then pulling inward
Wanting more, wishing you were with me
Do we dare bring our talk to reality
Join in flesh what we’ve built up in fantasy
Dancing round and round and round
Love moves…Builds flows…Our souls…Swimming
2. I met you, you met me
Rising in ecstasy
Is there trust in what we founded
Why this fear like in me you’ve drowneded
Wanting less, just to hear what befalls me
In the flesh is the part that really galls thee
What a mess, so much energy to learn we
Talked around and round and round
Energy moved… Built grew… Wall ran… Grounded
The answer was… NO
3. Other you, other me
Once again, can it be
So at one we can talk for hours
Building trust, and love it flowers
So much more, with the Source we’re grounded
Cords of love we are fully bounded
Fuller lives are together founded
Singing clearly Joining souls
Love’s new… Hold you… 2 hearts… Spinning
4. I love you, you love me
We’re in reality
Sharing love and lives together
Any storm we will learn to weather
Having more than when we’re single
Weaving dreams that we can co-mingle
Sizzling touch, sets our skin a’tingle
Soaring round and round and round
One love… 2 souls… Deeply… Knowing
We’re open to… NOW.
18. Every Time We Meet by Priscilla Rowe © 1946, transposed down from F to C by Bill Taylor. Written a year or so before meeting my father. This song was played on the radio in the late 1940’s, and I found notes on copies requesting it to be published.
Lately people are observing such a change in me
The reason is that I am happy as can be
For the joy you have brought me has taught me to see
The beauty and the happiness this world now holds for me
There’s a light in my eye and I’m no longer shy
My happiness seems most complete
Even when it’s not spring I hear birds start to sing
EVERY TIME WE MEET
There’s a warmth to my smile and I feel so worthwhile
And everything bitter is sweet
January or June all the world is in tune
EVERY TIME WE MEET
You can readily see the effect that you have upon me
And my thorough detection tells me it’s your affection
Darling I love you so and I want you to know
To walk with you down life’s street
Just the mere thought of you makes me look forward to
EVERY TIME WE MEET.