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Cecil Taylor

Cecil Taylor is an NEA Jazz Master

"One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, 'You don‘t know what love is,' great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing." —Cecil Taylor

"Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home more beautiful. What goes into an improvisation is what goes into one's preparation, then allowing the prepared senses to execute at the highest level devoid of psychological or logical interference. You ask, without logic, where does the form come from? It seems something that may be forgotten is that as we begin our day and proceed through it there is a form in existence that we create out of, that the day and night itself is for. And what we choose to vary in the daily routine provides in itself the fresh building blocks to construct a living form which is easily translated into a specific act of making a musical composition." - Cecil Taylor

Cecil Taylor has been an uncompromising creative force who is a testament to his own existence and personal experience since his earliest recordings in the 1950's. In the 1960's, his music would become a leading exponent, along with that of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, of the budding "free-jazz" movement. This movement shook the very foundations on which jazz music was securely resting and marks a major turning point in the history of the music that challenged the structures of form and the tonal harmonic system. Taylor has said of his characteristic rhythmic playing that he tries "to imitate on the piano the leaps in space a dancer makes" and his orchestral facility on the piano has allowed him to innovate new musical textures in small ensemble performance. Taylor's playing has always been technically sophisticated, but as he once said, "technique is a weapon to do whatever must be done".† The personnel in his bands over his almost five decades in jazz comprises a list of astounding talent including: Steve Lacy, Jimmy Lyons, Albert Ayler, Buell Neidlinger, Dennis Charles, Archie Shepp, William Parker, Max Roach, Tony Williams, Mark Helias, Mary Lou Williams, and Bill Dixon. Additionally, he has worked with several notable dancers and choreographers including composing music for Diane McIntyre, Mikhail Barishnokov, and Heather Watts.

While his music has always been controversial to mainstream audiences, he has always been totally true to his artistic vision, and this has extended into all aspects of his life including his passions for reading, dance, theatre, and architecture. He is also an accomplished poet, and has incorporated this talent into many of his performances and recordings.

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17
Album Review

Cecil Taylor Unit: Live At Fat Tuesday's February 9,1980 First Visit

Read "Live At Fat Tuesday's February 9,1980 First Visit" reviewed by Chris May


More faux-intellectual codswallop has been written about Cecil Taylor than about any other jazz musician, dead or alive. He has been, and continues to be, misrepresented as an arcane Einsteinian theorist by a cult whose members are afraid of visceral reactions to his art (or to anyone else's). But Taylor's work demands a visceral response. It has nothing to do with rational thought and everything to do with emotion and physicality. Sadly, the nonsense that has been written about his ...

11
Album Review

Albert Ayler: More Lost Performances Revisited

Read "More Lost Performances Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


A state-of-the-art sonic restoration of obscure but historically important Albert Ayler material by Switzerland's ezz-thetics label, which with its parent label, Hat Hut, has been creating an audiophile archive of Ayler recordings with the support of his estate since 1978. All too often, “more" in an album title means “Beware: barrel scraping in progress." Not in this case. More Lost Performances Revisited is primetime Ayler. The disc draws from three sources over a five-year timespan. The earliest ...

3
Radio & Podcasts

Cecil Taylor, Ellington Seattle Concert, Aretha Franklin

Read "Cecil Taylor, Ellington Seattle Concert, Aretha Franklin" reviewed by David Brown


This week on the Jazz Continuum, we celebrate the birthday of Aretha Franklin with her music and Franklin covers by Philly organist Jimmy McGriff. We'll continue with a musical tribute to Cecil Taylor, one of the most uncompromisingly gifted pianists in jazz history who was born on this day in 1929. We'll be spinning from Taylor's discography, both early works and key, influential recordings. Then, we'll visit the Duke Ellington orchestra performing in Seattle, on this day in 1952, when ...

10
Reassessing

Momentum Space

Read "Momentum Space" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Momentum Space was released in 1999 on Verve Records. Considering the players--saxophonist Dewey Redman, pianist Cecil Taylor and drummer Elvin Jones--the album didn't make much of a splash. Reviews were mixed, leaning toward the dismissive. Taylor was 70 at the time. Jones was in his early 70s and saxman Redman was in his late 60s. Taylor was widely considered a genius of free jazz, or a madman who was going out there on the bandstand and jiving us--the ...

9
Album Review

Cecil Taylor: With (Exit) To Student Studies Revisited

Read "With (Exit) To Student Studies Revisited" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Documenting the evolution of Cecil Taylor is an undertaking that is way beyond the pay grade of most listeners. Just as in the study of homo sapiens (yes, us) where there is no critical moment (the missing link) that we can definitely pinpoint where our ancestors established language, art and importantly, abstract thought, Taylor's music can be thought of in similar terms. Obviously his approach didn't emerge fully formed. Or did it? No, that is an irrational thought, but a ...

1
Radio & Podcasts

Town Hall: Satchmo to Cecil

Read "Town Hall: Satchmo to Cecil" reviewed by David Brown


I picked up a Blue Note box set titled One Night with Blue Note Preserved. It contains a concert presented at Town Hall, NYC in February of 1985 which relaunched the historic label after years of dormancy. Tonight, in addition to selections from this concert—Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner and others—we'll explore other live recordings from Town Hall. Artists include: Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Sara Vaughn, Cecil Taylor and others. Playlist ...

10
Album Review

Cecil Taylor: The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert

Read "The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


If the title alone The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert doesn't blow out those flu-like post-holiday cobwebs in a big hurry, the full, near ninety minute assault on all that was and is holy damn well will. Couple the jittery anticipation of NYC's Town Hall audience pushing up against the cool onstage élan of alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, percussionist Andrew Cyrille and bassist Sirone aka Norris Jones and the air in the hall is highly, nervously charged, all of them ...

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Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

Recording

Cecil Taylor: Complete Return Concert

Cecil Taylor: Complete Return Concert

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

On November 4, 1973, pianist Cecil Taylor was booked to perform at New York's Town Hall. He planned to perform three free-jazz works accompanied by Jimmy Lyons (as) Sirone (b) and Andrew Cyrille (d). Sensing that Taylor's concert would be significant both as a work of music and because Taylor hadn't played in the city since the Newport Jazz Festival a year earlier, David Laura, Taylor's then manager, reached out to Fred Seibert, a Columbia University student. Back then, Fred ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

Obituary

Cecil Taylor Is Gone

Cecil Taylor Is Gone

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Cecil Taylor, a pianist who fashioned his music from myriad styles and sources, died yesterday in New York. He was 89. From his earliest recordings in the mid-1950s with bassist Buell Nieidlinger, drummer Dennis Charles and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, Taylor pursued daring and swam upstream against jazz orthodoxy. This is how critic Ben Ratliff put it in an obituary in today’s New York Times. At the center of his art was that dazzling physicality and the percussiveness of his ...

1

Obituary

Cecil Taylor: 1929-2018

Cecil Taylor: 1929-2018

Source: All About Jazz

We compiled several Tweets about pianist Cecil Taylor's profound impact on others through his music and his friendship. Scroll to the bottom and click the link to read more.

Thanks to Cecil Taylor for his creative courage and his uncompromising vision of what music can be. We mourn his passing but celebrate his life.

— Dave Holland (@TheDaveHolland) April 6, 2018

No one touched the piano like Cecil Taylor. The force, the ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Jazz Musician of the Day: Cecil Taylor

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Cecil Taylor's birthday today!

“One of my wishes has been realized. I found love. It was difficult, but I found it. Because when Billy Holiday sang, “You don‘t know what love is,” great singers will tell you… it‘s a partnership. It‘s a sharing"....—-Cecil Taylor November 10, 2010 “Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home ...

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

More Lost...

Ezz-thetics
2023

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The Complete,...

Oblivion Records
2022

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With (Exit) To...

Ezz-thetics
2022

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Mixed to Unit...

Ezz-thetics
2021

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Lifting The Bandstand

Fundacja Sluchaj
2021

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