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Cecil Taylor started out with a bracingly original sound that had a tenuous but easily discernible connection to recognizable forms and gradually over the decades moved into total abstraction. Taylor is perhaps at the peak of his technique and his music can be both as predictable, and its opposite, as ever. On the newly released Algonquin, a set of duos with violist Mat Maneri, Taylor delivers more of his familiar rapid-fire style and some gentler surprises.
Maneri gets the first sound on this live recording, but it's the master who has the first word spoken word. Taylor enters the music gradually, a method he has sometimes employed during the past two decades. When he starts to play, he eases into it gently, then suddenly launches into a pretty, classical-sounding interlude. Maneri doesn't seem to know what to do with this and it's over in a twinkle.
Algonquin showcases Taylor's full range of artistry and shows Maneri is ready for the big leagues, even if you can still hear him growing on this effort.
Tsahar/Maneri/Black Jam Hopscotch 2003
Mat Maneri's impressively large discography gets another line with Jam, a trio of Maneri, reedist Assif Tsahar and the excellent drummer Jim Black. Culled from live sessions at Tonic, this is a fair document of the current state of downtown free improv art. The three settle in for a series of conversations in sound, each deploying a fairly extensive vocabulary. It's creative noisemaking at a high level, so caveat emptor: no grooves or unison melodies in earshot here.
Algonquin Tracks: Algonquin, Pt. 1 (30:36); Pt. 2 (4:12); Pt. 3 (6:34); Pt. 4 (13:21). Personnel: Cecil Taylor: piano; Mat Maneri: violin.
Jam Tracks: Jam, Pt. 1 (6:39); Pt. 2 (4:56); Pt. 3 (7:02); Pt. 4 (6:06); Pt. 5 (4:24); Pt. 6 (5:41); Pt. 7 (3:33); Pt. 8 (5:10); Pt. 9 (8:10). Personnel: Jim Black: Percussion, Drums; Mat Maneri: Violin, Electric Violin; Assif Tsahar: Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...