Cecil Taylor, Dewey Redman, Elvin Jones: Momentum Space
Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane emerged as the leading voices of the new music forty years ago. Each created from a separate vision that went beyond their predecessors. Coltrane and Taylor made a record together ( Coltrane Time, United Artists). Coleman ( New York Is Now, Blue Note), and Coltrane ( The Avante Garde, Atlantic) recorded with each others' rhythm sections but there was not enough common ground for them to play together effectively. Each required collaborating musicians to spend months or years with them to bring the music off at the highest level.
Momentum Spacewas issued two years ago to minimal attention, but it is a major statement. All three major voices influence its sound directly (Taylor) or through collaborators. Participation varies from track to track. Each musician has a solo tune, there are two duets, and all three play on the two longest tunes, "Nine", and "Is".
Because of Jones' adaptability and ability to rhythmically act/react the duets come off as the most fully realized cuts. Both tunes are non-stop, two-way conversations with Jones pushing Taylor and Redman close to their limits. Possibly due to his dominant personality Taylor emerges as the leader of the trio sessions. In a way the trio with Redman drifting in and out recalls Taylor's 1960's band with Jimmy Lyons and Andrew Cyrille. There are a few moments where Taylor and Redman are out of sync, but Taylor generally goes with the flow more than would be expected. And he plays with conviction. The solo tracks are more polished but less intense than the collaborative pieces. The Jones solo ("Bekei") is one of his few unaccompanied recordings.
The music itself is completely free with no pre-conceived composition, key, or rhythm. Ebb and flow is determined by the players and centers around the rhythm of the moment. Several ambiguously defined themes come and go, most of which seem to emanate from Taylor but become common property.