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Articles | Popular | Future

Cecil Taylor

Read "Cecil Taylor" reviewed by John Eyles

On April 5th 2018, the world lost pianist, composer, poet and iconoclast Cecil Taylor, at age 89. Taylor was the last surviving member of a generation of players who gave birth to the music variously labelled as avant-garde, fire music or free jazz, although some sources jointly credit Taylor and Ornette Coleman as its originators. A native New Yorker, Taylor received piano lessons by the age of five, taught by his mother. A childhood classical-piano prodigy, he studied ...

NEW YORK BEAT

Cecil Taylor: Courage in Creation

Read "Cecil Taylor: Courage in Creation" reviewed by Nick Catalano

Ever since innovative artists were faced with reflecting and reacting in their art to seismic events (WWI) revolutionary science (Einsteinian relativity, Darwinian evolution, and political convolution (fascism, bolshevism) over a century ago, many faced years of scorn and condemnation. When they chose abstraction in art (Mondrian, Kandinsky) dissonance in music (Schoenberg, Bartok) or stream of consciousness in writing (Eliot, Joyce) to describe a disjunctive new world they were destined to lose the masses and rely on clairvoyant critics for small ...

RADIO

Cecil Taylor Live in Padua, 1975

Read "Cecil Taylor Live in Padua, 1975" reviewed by Centro d'Arte Padova

For our first contribution to All About Jazz's Mixcloud column, we celebrate the musical genius, free spirit and unbounded creativity of Cecil Taylor. We decided to start with one of the gems from our vaults: a historic recording of his first (and only) concert in Padua, Italy, in 1975. Listen to twenty five minutes of breathtaking musical inventions! This installment is part of “From the Archive," a series curated by Centro d'Arte Padova that will present unreleased excerpts ...

PROFILES

Cecil Taylor: 1929-2018

Read "Cecil Taylor: 1929-2018" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

As he approached the age of ninety, Cecil Taylor could be excused for some of his indulgences. Still highly opinionated on a range of subjects; still chain smoking, still harboring old resentments, and so on. For a man from whom new ideas sprang constantly and effortlessly, Taylor could get stuck in real-world dramas. He had a patriarchal legacy that held him above the everyday judgments of other mortals; he was a founding father of free jazz, a co-founder of the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cecil Taylor: Live In The Black Forest

Read "Live In The Black Forest" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

A retrospective look at the sixty-year career of Cecil Taylor, in progress at the Whitney Museum of American Art, incorporates the museum's unobstructed spaces and impressive views of New York City with multimedia documentation of the great composer/pianist's sixty years of creative invention. That openness is emblematic of Taylor's own absence of artistic boundaries. He has worked with dancers, poets, filmmakers and playwrights all while creating the most innovative avant-garde music that modern jazz has to offer. Throughout his career ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cecil Taylor: Garden 2nd Set

Read "Garden 2nd Set" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Years after this 1981 performance at a Swiss venue, pianist Cecil Taylor advised producer Werner X Uehlinger that this was his best solo concert, as the 2nd Set chronicles the order of performance and follows up the 2015 reissue of Garden 1st Set (hatOLOGY, 2015). And to cite the often-used movie critic adjective, this concert was truly riveting. Taylor performs on a 92-key Bosendorfer piano, providing extra bass keys to bottom F. Taylor proffers a detailed soundstage amid ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cecil Taylor: Garden 1st Set

Read "Garden 1st Set" reviewed by Mark Corroto

I dare you to put a Cecil Taylor record on the turntable (or press play on that download) and leave the room. You can't. His energy, mojo, or maybe voodoo is so strong, that your escape is impossible. It's as simple as that.Taylor is a force of nature. An irrepressible pianist, poet, philosopher jazzman. His performances are legendary, and this 1981 concert in Basel Switzerland is a gem. First released by Hat Hut Records (now hatOLOGY) in a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cecil Taylor: FLY! FLY! FLY! FLY! FLY!

Read "FLY! FLY! FLY! FLY! FLY!" reviewed by John Kelman

83 years old and approaching ninety releases as a leader, pianist Cecil Taylor's place in the history of jazz may already rest assured, but he's more cited than seen these days. He may not come up as a primary influence as often as usual suspects Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner or Herbie Hancock, but in the free jazz realm there are few as distinctive or influential--and who've avoided the lure of compromise. Paul Bley comes close, but while the ...

INTERVIEWS

Cecil Taylor: This Music is the Face of a Drum

Read "Cecil Taylor: This Music is the Face of a Drum" reviewed by Robert Levin

[Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Jazz & Pop Magazine (April 1971)]As an artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, Cecil Taylor has finally been able to realize a long-held ambition--the command of a large orchestra. Comprised of fifteen of his students (and augmented by Jimmy Lyons, Sam Rivers, Leroy Jenkins and Andrew Cyrille), the “Cecil Taylor Ensemble" recently played concerts at Wisconsin and at Dayton University in Ohio and it is scheduled to make ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Cecil Taylor at the Take 3, 1962-'63

Read "Cecil Taylor at the Take 3, 1962-'63" reviewed by Robert Levin

[Editor's Note: Excerpted and adapted from a work-in-progress, Going Outside: A Memoir of Free Jazz & the '60s] In the summer of 1962, Cecil lands a three-month, four-night-a-week gig at The Take 3, a coffee house on Bleecker Street. It's right next door to The Bitter End where Woody Allen had performed just weeks before. (Allen was second on the bill and I'd thrown him a quick couple of lines in the Village Voice column--something about how ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Primal Waters of Pure Consciousness: Cecil Taylor at Merkin Hall

Read "The Primal Waters of Pure Consciousness: Cecil Taylor at Merkin Hall" reviewed by Eric Benson

Cecil TaylorMerkin Concert Hall New York, NY March 28, 2009 Cecil Taylor shuffled in from the wings with knitted tube socks pulled up over his sweatpants, ignored the Steinway grand that dominated centerstage, and began to read. A shapeless nurturer, distilled...Australopithecus, pebble culture...A convergence and continuum...Emerging lunar-tidal-circles...Primal waters of pure consciousness...Oblivious to a centimeter squared...CYMA, CYMA, C-Y-M-A

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cecil Taylor: CT: The Dance Project

Read "CT: The Dance Project" reviewed by Marc Medwin

Since the late-'80s, the pioneering imprint FMP has released more of pianist Cecil Taylor's work than any other company, including the mammoth box set documenting his month-long 1988 residency in Berlin. CT: The Dance Project, recorded two years later, documents a performance of which this music was only one component. Bert Noglik's accompanying notes afford reminiscences of what occurred as dance and music merged on a July evening in 1990. The album is divided into two multi-part pieces; the dancers' ...