"Fearless was an album full of magic and curiosity, the bliss and devastation of youth. It was the diary of the adventures and explorations of a teenage girl who was learning tiny lessons with every new crack in the facade of the fairytale ending she'd been shown in the movies. I'm thrilled to tell you that my new version of Fearless is done and will be with you soon. It's called Fearless (Taylor's Version) and it includes 27 songs."
Recorded a couple of days after the similarly titled solo piano performance also released on FMP, Looking (Berlin Version) Corona is a fine quintet concert, notable for the relatively unusual (for Taylor) instrumental grouping employed. In addition to longtime associates Tony Oxley and William Parker, he added a violinist and a cellist (Harold Kimmig and Muneer Abdul Fatah, respectively), forming with Parker a kind of string trio plunked down between the two massive musical forces of nature playing piano and drums. This hornless ensemble creates a very attractive openness of sound, leaving the players a large amount of apparent sonic space in which to improvise freely. Kimmig takes advantage of this early on with some inspired soloing, bringing to mind another violinist briefly affiliated with Taylor, Leroy Jenkins.
This is a particularly well-constructed session by pianist Billy Taylor who is featured in a combo with bassist Christian McBride, drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, the congas of Ray Mantilla and, on three songs, tenor-saxophonist Stanley Turrentine; Grady Tate also contributes two warm ballad vocals. All nine songs were composed by Taylor (including three pieces taken from a more extended work in tribute to Martin Luther King) and the results are melodic, boppish and swinging.