Cecil Taylor S+D

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I guessed maybe "One Too Many Salty Swifty and Not Goodbye" wasn't the BEST entry point learning-curve-wise but hey, I'm here and I'm liking it.

...so what should I seek next?

Bob Zemko, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I've never heard a Cecil Taylor alb that wasn't the biz, but then I haven't heard that many of 'em. You rarely seem to find his old recs turning up 2nd hand in places like Ray's Jazz Shop - ppl are holding on to 'em! I really like 'Looking Ahead!', one of his earliest albs; it's got Earl Griffith on vibra-harp, which adds a v. unusual texture to the music, and features the classic composition 'Excursions on a Wobbly Rail' - a young Lou Reed borrowed this title for his college radio show, IIRC. It's abt as approachable - if not 'conventional' - as CT gets.

Anything with Jimmy Lyons on (most underrated sax player ever?) is also worth yr time and effort - 'Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come', an awesome live alb recorded in the early 60s, was reissued by Revenant a few years ago, and 'It Is In The Brewing Luminous', an early 80s small club date w/ Lyons, and Alan Silva on bass, was put out on CD by HatArt a year or so ago. 'Unit Structures', a bigger band line-up w/ Lyons, Silva and Henry Grimes amongst others, is a 1966 Blue Note alb that should be fairly easy to get hold of. From roughly the same period, there's a wicked split alb on Impulse! w/ Roswell Rudd called 'Mixed' that includes tracks from Gil Evans' 'Into The Hot', where Taylor plays alongside Lyons and Archie Shepp. And if you can find it, 'The Jazz Composer's Orchestra' dbl alb features both Taylor and Pharoah Sanders on absolutely blistering form.

I'm totally clueless abt most of Taylor's 70s albs - there shld be a comprehensive reissue prog, goddamit! - and I've yet to dabble in any of his spoken word stuff, although the FMP collab alb w/ Derek Bailey - 'Pleistozaen Mit Wasser' - begins w/ CT burbling and gurgling away before he finally reaches the keyboard. That rec is part of a whole series of collaborative concerts that CT gave in Germany in 1988, each with different groupings of Europe's top free players.

Andrew L, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Solo Cds: Silent tongues. Tree of life.

Cecil taylor unit: It is in the brewing luminous.

The FMP label released 11 CDs (I think) of concerts that were performed in Berlin in '88. You can't buy the boxset but all (bar CD 001) are available. I have several of them and they are all worth getting. There are duos with Derek Bailey, Gunter Sommer, Tony Oxley, Paul Lovens, a trio with evan parker and a cello player (can't remember name). There is a solo set amongst this.

And I still got to hear the duo with han bennik and the 2CD set where he plays (after several days rehersal) with a 17-piece orchestra. I'm sure someone else will fill in the remanider.

It's just the start. Once you're in just watch the bank account dry up.

Julio Desouza, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

thanx all.

re: nefertiti, i picked up a LP for £6 called What's New, on Freedom. As far as I can see it's the same thing. is this true? it's a UK LP. I got the impression that nefertiti was super rare if ever released at all.

tell me about the spoken word stuff

Bob Zemko, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the 'Nefertiti' material has been repackaged under various titles, in single and dbl-length form.

The Leo alb 'Chinampas' is just Cecil reading his poetry, no piano.

Andrew L, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

'tell me about the spoken word stuff'

Album on Leo called cinampas which is taylor on vocals and percussion. No piano. Never seen this BUT from his 'vocals' on the albums I do have then it must all gibberish instead of actual words. So get hold of it.

're: nefertiti, i picked up a LP for £6 called What's New, on Freedom. As far as I can see it's the same thing. is this true? it's a UK LP. I got the impression that nefertiti was super rare if ever released at all.'

Neferetti, 'the beautiful one has come' is a reissue. If it's the same then DAMN YOU. I pay £28 for my double CD (but i wonder whether your LP has all the material).

Julio Desouza, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

chinimpas not cinimpas: i wuv it (tho many do not)

cecil possibly my alltime fave "avant gardist"

mark s, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like Nefertiti a lot, but the horn player gets tiresome after a while. He is an era behind Cecil. The reissue does have a few extra tracks (the couple at the end of each CD that are of noticeably lower recording quality).

The Hans Bennik duet is very good (I love the name: "Spots, Circles and Fantasy"), not totally dissimilar to the Lovens but louder, more anarchic.

Ben Williams, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

'cecil possibly my alltime fave "avant gardist"'

Yeah, I remeber you wrote an article abt him on the wire (think it had diamanda on the cover).

Since I've just acquired a job that pays me enough (though 'enough' is never enough heh heh) to buy this stuff I'm just going through buying records that are released by 'avant-gardists' so I wouldn't to say who is my favourite but cecil would be near the top.

Julio Desouza, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

'I like Nefertiti a lot, but the horn player gets tiresome after a while. He is an era behind Cecil.'

That's jimmy lyons. I agree but jimmy is also on 'brewing luminous' but here he is much better, it's almost as if he caught up with Cecil. Great stuff.

And I haven't seen the Bennik duo. I must get it. I've heard stuff he's done with brotzmann. It's a riot.

Julio Desouza, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Part of the reason I'm only just getting round to listening to CT is like something Mark wrote in that Wire article, about knowing you'll like him before you've heard a note. I don't know why exactly, maybe it was the hat. So knowing he was a keeper, I dedicated my time to deciding whether less talented people were worth the effort... and now I return, jaded, to what I know. Aah.

Bob Zemko, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

There's a complete CT sessionography here. "Always a Pleasure" is a great septet date from 1993 featuring the redoubtable Tristan Honsinger on cello.

o. nate, Thursday, 21 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i reckon "unit Structures" is the entry-point pick. was for me anyway, i didnt really get it til i heard that 1.

duane, Friday, 22 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

early: Jazz Composers Orchestra is my favourite record, as i've been through one lp and one cd -- Cecil's two cool solos compress the CT idea into well orchestrated mini (for him) displays that get the speed/rate of ideas rush going -- the first of the 2 CT pieces on JCO gets really very clearly audibly about 6+ minutes in -- patiently enjoy this piece boil up and crystallise

or "Student Studies" aka "The Great Paris Concert" (so called on Black Lion), with a bonus Sam Rivers -- or "Conquistador" on Blue Note, really seductive, its "Unit Structures" less complex but sexy sibling

mid: the two New World Records recordings capture that "..swift" band in the studio before they had toured Europe. Since "..swift" is the last gig for the band that included Jacson, you'll have ideas developed from one extreme to the other by the same band within a year long period, a rare oppurtunity to see how CT material develops over the course of a bands run -- usually his recordings are one-off appearances for each line-up

the Leo albums are the least useful of his albums (except for seeing what Leroy Jenkins does)

a good orchestrated by CT is "Sliding Quadrants" on Soul Note -- a useful entry to smaller scaled compositions and a great band quite different to the Jackson stuff

remember the Jackson stuff is most atypical -- no other CT drummer took anything like that approach, so "..swift" is quite an odd-ball, but very good admittedly

later: Oxley/Taylor is my favourite FMP, and Double Holy House is as cruisy as Taylor will get solo but all the FMPs are good.

the double "Alms/ .." ia a bit obvious, but fun. Olu Iwa with Brotzman is also definitely fun as are the FMP trios and 4tets/6tets with Oxley, Parker, Guy and the Honsinger, Gayle et. al.

get them all, then you have a lifetime of speed of sound ploughing to look forward to

George Gosset, Sunday, 24 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"conquistador" bears repeated listenings best for me cos it retains the ellingtonesque easiness. either that or those cheap & cheerful bootlegged off the vinyl cds of "fondation maeght nights" on the defunct jazz view label cos andrew cyrille is storming on that and cecil's mumbling is up as high as the piano in the mix, unlike the rocking "unit structures" where you can barely hear it (v.odd)

bob snoom, Thursday, 28 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

also for some reason i can't stand the william parker /carlos ward / leroy jenkins period stuff or the ct unit / 3 phasis discs.

bob snoom, Thursday, 28 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
Mercy! This "mark s" fellow writes for The Wire? Respect plummeting for that magazine. From what I've seen from his posts, I'd be quite shocked to know that he was capable of stringing together more than a mere sentence, much less writing an in-depth article, much less on an artist the caliber of a Cecil Taylor (nevermind his nauseating attempts at being cute via spelling).

Allison Vega, Thursday, 19 September 2002 05:22 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Caliber" and "nevermind" in a post concerning others' supposed inability to string together more than a mere sentence (tautological as well!).

Trolls really should learn to be consistent. Or better still, fuck off.

Alison Houston, Thursday, 19 September 2002 06:25 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

b-but korrekt spelling says nothing to me about my life!!

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 19 September 2002 08:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

The questions arise: (1) why is she having a go at you for liking CT; and (2) if you are going to berate someone for being capable only of stringing one sentence together, it might be a good idea to check your own syntax first ("much less an artist the caliber of a Cecil Taylor"????). If that's the ballpark on which you wish to pitch.

WHAT SHE SHOULD HAVE DONE OF COURSE was to berate you for being ABLE to string one sentence together in colourful, vowel-free purlieus, bleeding with camouflage-annihilating oxsyteryxie oxleyTtime howdoesitPHeAL aware of cecily's ergoGnomics unreachBBBBBLE for ham method acKToER like archie shepp har har :-)

Marcello Carlin, Thursday, 19 September 2002 08:56 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oi you two Al(l)isons MUD FITE NOW!!!

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 19 September 2002 09:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

oh - forgot to mention the solo "silent tongues" record - this first cecil i ever got and still my favourite

bob snoom, Sunday, 22 September 2002 15:57 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

anyone investing in this "2 ts for a lovely t" box?

bob zemko (bob), Thursday, 26 September 2002 00:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

hehehe I wish i had the money (well, I do) but I can't really. yeasterday a bought a 6 LP box set of sound art. if i go on like this i will surely go broke...are you?

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 26 September 2002 09:24 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"hehehe.. i wish i had the money (well, i do)"

! i love this !

if i want it bad enough then i'll find the munny. (i'd love to mug someone so i could buy a cecil box set!!) but it seems way overpriced to me, and the prob (or is it?) with cecil is that it's had to get a review where i don't think that it's reflex "well everything he does is genius" one. i know he's a genius godammit!

am i broke? hmm. I've known broke-r supermarket-job student underachievers than me, so i guess i won't complain.

what sound-art box was this then?

bob zemko (bob), Thursday, 26 September 2002 13:12 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i wrote the info below on the last 4 albums you bought thread:

''Henri Chopin's Revue OU: 5 x LPs of sound art from the likes of W. Burroughs, byron gysin, bob cobbing (there's abt 20 artists in total). Beautiful picture discs. If you have 65 quid then go and get this becuz its only a limited edition of 300 and it'll prob run out in a month.
the alternative is a 4 CD box set (material on 5 Lps) with a booklet (this didn't come with the LPs).

On the other hand there is a Henri chopin LP (an extra) with the 5. That doesn't come with the CDs.

I chose more music instaed of more info.''

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 26 September 2002 13:39 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

the cecil box is 100 quid i think. but there is 10 discs (10 quid per disc sounds reasonable).

''"hehehe.. i wish i had the money (well, i do)"
! i love this !''

well. that's the situation I'm in. I'd be happy to buy a 5 disc set (50 quid say) but since that isn't avaialble.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 26 September 2002 13:48 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i'm with you julio,

the promoters should tell us _now_ whether they're going to do what FMP did and issue them all as singles later anyway -- i figure the artists are above this game show retail business, so hopefully we'll find out the label are as like minded real soon

the i.t. boom, the cd boom, so many improv/azz releases in the last 8 years, have all been a little off-putting -- as were the FMP trio singles like ".. blazons"

george gosset (gegoss), Saturday, 28 September 2002 07:14 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

well i don't even bother with any contemporary jazz since these guys release so much. i only buy some free improv but again you can never keep up.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 28 September 2002 10:09 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
Get those later FMP discs as well: 'melancholy' and 'always a pleasure' are phenomenal.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 10 March 2003 10:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

chinampas is indeed brilliant

zemko (bob), Monday, 10 March 2003 12:13 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

chinampas, double holy house and totzil/mummers are all cecil taylor albums that demonstrate the type of musical-poet-speak that has screwed up mark s so badly that the email-touretts style he adopts for word association with ilm will alienate contributors of the callibre of this allison vega chick

i wish there were more CT holy house and totzil/mummers spoken-music albums (and less w.s.burroughs albums)

anyone able to justify 100 quid for the ten album ct/oxley/parker dates ?? (limited edition -- screw that, i've seen 4 or 5 limited editions of the hat/hut items now, except garden, which is deserving too) -- i don't find w.parker very interesting on celebrated/looking fmps

(oh, and i think one too many salty swift pt 2 (5 on disc one) is the best learning curve entry point for ct units)

george gosset (gegoss), Monday, 10 March 2003 12:40 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"Silent Tongues" from way back in the '70s is a good place to start.

I have to admit I don't love Cecil Taylor. In theory I do, he's an incredible technician. As far as what he plays, though, I think there are moments of brilliance, but it seems very European to me...no space...I have no idea what you'd call it.

He's one of those people I need to check out more thoroughly, like Braxton, so the above suggestions are very useful. Anyone care to offer an analysis of what he does that might help me appreciate it more, I'm sure I must be missing some key here...

Jess Hill (jesshill), Monday, 10 March 2003 17:46 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Unit Structures, Spring of 2 Blue Js, The Cecil Taylor Unit (Raphe Malik's debut, I believe - worth it for that alone)

roger adultery (roger adultery), Monday, 10 March 2003 17:47 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

''Anyone care to offer an analysis of what he does that might help me appreciate it more, I'm sure I must be missing some key here...''

well what he does has no central key heh...atonal jazz me thinks. for more: go to val vilmer's book on the subject (not too technical but it has a bit of it for sure).

fer chrissakes! he's european!!! come on...he's european and american and african etc etc...its a world music project in his hands.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 10 March 2003 17:55 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Obviously I usually stay well away from this kind of stuff, but I do like his African Violets.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 10 March 2003 20:30 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'd like to put in a word for Nailed, a recording of a 1991 concert I believe, feat Evan Parker, Tony Oxley, and Barry Guy. I think it's great. It contains a roughly 20-min piece and a roughly 50-min piece which achieve some real manic intensity. Parker gets some great sounds.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 10 March 2003 20:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
I have enjoyed Unit Structures on a cerebral level, the way I like Braxton; they are both very Mondrian or something, all right angles and straight lines, less earthy than the Ayler/Shepp/Coltrane axis. CT's virtuosity/strength of vision can be intimidating. Recently I have been listening to the track "Spring of 2 Blue Js" (sadly, I can't find the album), and the Tony Oxley/Taylor FMP Leaf Palm Hand. Cecil Taylor's bone marrow, as far as I can tell. I need more. I love how sensitive the improvisors are - Cyrille on the one, and Oxley on the other; they do not overpower CT's own percussive sensibility but nudge it along. I am impressed how CT is in total and constant control of the harmonic fiber, which shifts in subtle ways, over time, even when the playing is frantic. Further suggestions, anything this s/d thread missed?

mcd (mcd), Monday, 19 July 2004 17:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

For instance, which '88 FMP should I try next considering how much I love the Oxley one? And on "Spring of 2 Blue Js" who is this fellow Sirone? He kills.

mcd (mcd), Monday, 19 July 2004 17:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I really like the duo with max roach that I heard about 6 months ago, very diff to anything offered by cyrille and oxley (prob my two fave percussionists with taylor, actually).

x-post: sirone=> http://www.mindspring.com/~scala/sirone.htm

I really like 'artistry'.

Don't have all the FMPs but I'd say you should get one without a percussionist next. The one with parker and hosinger was really satisfying.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 19 July 2004 17:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

he's playing for free at Castle Clinton in Battery Park a week from Thursday. Can't wait (tho I'm assuming it's solo).

hstencil (hstencil), Monday, 19 July 2004 17:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Julio, your suggestions are helpful. Thanks. I didn't realize Sirone was the same guy who played on one of my very favorite jazz records: Marion Brown's Three for Shepp.

Wow, stence, that is very exciting. I will be there.

mcd (mcd), Monday, 19 July 2004 18:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it's free, but requires a ticket. They start distributing the tickets at 5PM at Castle Clinton, and the concert starts at 7. Tickets and seats are first-come first-served.

hstencil (hstencil), Monday, 19 July 2004 18:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The relatively recent Incarnation on FMP is excellent.

I own the 2 Ts For A Lovely T box. It's probably overpriced (especially when exchange rates - which were a lot better when I purchased it than they are now - and shipping to the US are factored in), but I've listened to it a lot, so I feel like I got my money's worth.

Phil Freeman (Phil Freeman), Monday, 19 July 2004 19:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

wow, that was really excellent. Cecil played in a trio with two white, 40s-ish dudes with ponytails whom I didn't recognize. The bassplayer was kinda bad, actually (dude play a REAL standup bass, not one of these shitty plugin, no body ones - no overtones), though had some okay moments. Drummer was really good. Cecil was ON (as if he's ever off). Since I had never seen him before, I was struck by his sense of melody. I guess, for some reason, whenever I listen to his records I'm more struck by his rhythmic abilities, but yesterday I was really listening more for melodies. And he delivered, quite amazingly, but of course in his own idiom. Nothing seemed out of place. 50 minute first set, two short trio encores, one solo encore.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 30 July 2004 13:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh man, I wish I still worked downtown. I saw a New Sounds Live show at Castle Clinton with John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Ikue Mori, and some other folks once.

Did Cecil come out in his pajamas and bless the piano before he started playing? He did something like that both times I've seen him.

o. nate (onate), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the only free jazz lp I have left after vanquishing most of my records is Cecil Taylor/Buell Niedlinger "New York City R&B." I wonder what people make of this one. I find it to be really good, and I pretty much can't stand free jazz at this point. Also backing him up on this record is Billy Higgins, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacey, etc.

Joseph Pot (STINKOR™), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

naw, Cecil was surprisingly informal and not very ritualistic, but it didn't matter. I liked how when he'd end a song, he'd just quit playing, and get up to scribble something in his notebook.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I have no idea who those other dudes were. I thought the drummer was Tony Oxley but that's b/c I've never seen him. Who was the bass player? I thought his slidey style really worked with Cecil's bangin' but I do know what you mean about the sound - really slick & one dimensional. The solo piano piece was especially melodic.

Yeah what was he writing?

mcd (mcd), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

that was definitely not Tony Oxley:


I thought the bassplayer would've been much better with a real standup. Even during his arco parts there didn't seem to be as many overtones as would be produced with a larger resonating body (altho some of the arco stuff kinda nicely sounded like the late Jimmy Lyons' sax stuff!).

Dunno what he was writing. I was hoping he'd recite a poem but no dice.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Wow, that's excellent - hey, from what I've seen, Vimeo is the place people put their documentaries when they'd rather monetize through rental; there's a huge selection. That might be the place for you to put it up

I'm not sure but I may be the only person on earth who has listened to all of 2 Ts in one go (yesterday). Towards the end I felt like I was on some sort of mystical sweat lodge mushroom trip

Brakhage, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 17:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Damn, there useta be a cool half-hour doc made for French TV documenting the late 1966 "Student Studies" quartet, but it's apparently taken down from YT in the past few months.

Scape: Goat-fired like a dog! (Myonga Vön Bontee), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 18:51 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I should've worded that differently. I'll send you a WeTransfer link once ripped. If it's not available on YT or Vimeo that's probably the filmmaker's decision and I'm not gonna ignore that.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 18:53 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Aiet - thanks again

Brakhage, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 17:45 (eleven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Rest In Peace

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 26 March 2018 03:58 (nine months ago) Permalink

Happy belated birthday CT

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 26 March 2018 15:34 (nine months ago) Permalink

No official confirmation yet but word's going around Cecil's passed

Brakhage, Friday, 6 April 2018 00:51 (nine months ago) Permalink

Aw man. I was lucky to see him play up close maybe twelve years ago, an experience that will stay with me forever.

True Fire.

DACA Flocka Flame (Hadrian VIII), Friday, 6 April 2018 01:20 (nine months ago) Permalink

He passed earlier this evening, at home in Fort Greene.

I saw him play five times:

• in trio with Dominic Duval on bass and Jay Rosen on drums at the Village Vanguard in 1997
• leading a two-dozen-strong orchestra at the Knitting Factory on Leonard Street in 2002
• at Avery Fisher Hall, also in 2002 (half solo, half trio with Duval and Rosen again)
• in trio with Henry Grimes on bass and Pheeroan akLaff on drums at the Iridium in 2006
• at the Whitney Museum in 2016 with Okkyung Lee on cello, Harri Sjöström on sax, Jackson Krall on drums, and Tony Oxley on electronics

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 6 April 2018 01:30 (nine months ago) Permalink


just last night picked up a copy of Winged Serpent (Sliding Quadrants) - I will blast it today

(re above release i had no idea he'd crossed paths with Tomasz Stanko)

saw him play in a trio with tony oxley and bill dixon in london maybe 10-15 years ago, it was a weird show but CT's solo section was outstanding

umsworth (emsworth), Friday, 6 April 2018 01:46 (nine months ago) Permalink

I love the album that Oxley/Dixon trio recorded at the Victoriaville Festival in Canada - I believe it was their debut performance, and it was much more Bill's show than Cecil's. The music was super spacious and drifting. It's the only time I've ever heard Taylor surrender to someone else's aesthetic so completely.

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 6 April 2018 01:51 (nine months ago) Permalink

only time i saw cecil taylor was in london at the jazz cafe in about 1991. can't for the life of me remember who he played with, though i guess oxley is a fairly likely candidate

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Friday, 6 April 2018 06:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

a giant.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Friday, 6 April 2018 09:50 (nine months ago) Permalink

Lots of Cecil coming down on the WFMU Give the Drummer Radio stream right now.

Three Word Username, Friday, 6 April 2018 13:06 (nine months ago) Permalink

Never got to see him play. But man, what a genius.

emil.y, Friday, 6 April 2018 13:34 (nine months ago) Permalink

RIP - talk about a guy who blazed an entirely new trail.

tylerw, Friday, 6 April 2018 14:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

The following panel discussion occurred 54 years ago today. Cecil was part of a "Jazz Weekend" at Bennington College (this was four years before Bill Dixon's arrival there, and seven or eight years prior to Dixon's establishing of the college's Black Music Division). Panelists include Cecil, arranger Hall Overton, and Bennington composition teacher Lou Calabro. Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) is in the audience, as is Bernard Malamud.


Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 6 April 2018 14:54 (nine months ago) Permalink

His playing was so visceral and thrilling, hearing Cecil pounding out a thundering cluster of notes is one of the greatest things in the world.

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 6 April 2018 15:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

man cecil

may your free spirit remain in free jazz

F# A# (∞), Friday, 6 April 2018 16:07 (nine months ago) Permalink

A couple of 10 second excerpts of his music on the BBC radio obit doesn't seem adequate, playing the entire side 1 of Air Above Mountains would have been a more fitting for such a star.

calzino, Friday, 6 April 2018 20:52 (nine months ago) Permalink


calzino, Friday, 6 April 2018 20:52 (nine months ago) Permalink

I think about the first thing I heard about him was an NME article from the start of teh 80s that had a bit talking about I think John Coltrane having picked up a new piano that needed to be worn in or something. From what I remember it was located in his bedroom and he asked Cecil to play it, then sat on the bed dodging piano keys as they flew past him because Cecil played so hard.

I was also knocked out by hearing that he was a chess hustler since being able to think strategically that far ahead etc seems phenomenal.

I like his mid 60s stuff. Need to hear a lot more of his recordings though.

Stevolende, Saturday, 7 April 2018 06:22 (nine months ago) Permalink

I was blasting out some of his 50's stuff that I hadn't listened to much previously this morning. Jazz Advance is an absolute classic, and with a young Steve Lacy in the band as well.

calzino, Saturday, 7 April 2018 10:14 (nine months ago) Permalink

I think about the first thing I heard about him was an NME article from the start of teh 80s that had a bit talking about I think John Coltrane having picked up a new piano that needed to be worn in or something. From what I remember it was located in his bedroom and he asked Cecil to play it, then sat on the bed dodging piano keys as they flew past him because Cecil played so hard.

This was Sunny Murray, actually; I was just reading this story in Valerie Wilmer's As Serious as Your Life, which is an amazing book and highly recommended.

I was also knocked out by hearing that he was a chess hustler since being able to think strategically that far ahead etc seems phenomenal.

It was Anthony Braxton who was a chess hustler for many years in New York. Cecil had some real crap jobs in the early 60s; he was a dishwasher in jazz clubs that wouldn't hire him to play.

grawlix (unperson), Saturday, 7 April 2018 13:22 (nine months ago) Permalink


Although not a posthumous tribute, I liked this a lot.

"By temperament, Taylor had chosen ‘Out’ before Ayler, Coltrane or even Coleman, playing ‘free’ years before this became the term for the play, his example encouraging each of them to take similar steps."

calzino, Saturday, 7 April 2018 16:15 (nine months ago) Permalink

I wrote something for The Wire.

grawlix (unperson), Saturday, 7 April 2018 17:47 (nine months ago) Permalink

Fenway organ, 1st inning: I assume that all @MLB organists are paying tribute to #CecilTaylor this weekend. I went with the intro to "Rick Kick Shaw" from his 1956 debut album "Jazz Advance," recorded right here in Boston.

— Josh Kantor (@jtkantor) April 7, 2018

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 7 April 2018 17:54 (nine months ago) Permalink

Saw him on the festival circuit in 2002, lotsa heavies in the crowd soaking in the 88 tuned drums.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 7 April 2018 18:10 (nine months ago) Permalink

Nice piece Phil

I love this recording, one of his first (THE first?) collaboration with Sunny Murray...all three of these musicians dead within the last few months...too bad about the amateurish visuals


Scape: Goat-fired like a dog! (Myonga Vön Bontee), Saturday, 7 April 2018 20:14 (nine months ago) Permalink

yes, nice

I've been playing my boxset of 2 Ts for a Lovely T. what an amazing recording

Dan S, Sunday, 8 April 2018 00:20 (nine months ago) Permalink

WMSE had a nice 3 hour show celebrating Taylor. The 4/08/18 show:


nicky lo-fi, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 13:05 (nine months ago) Permalink

In Cecil Taylor's honor, @EMPACnews is *giving away* copies of 'Solo | Duo | Poetry,' 2008 DVD featuring Cecil performing with the great Pauline Oliveros. DVD also includes 78-minute focus on Taylor's poetry. You pay only 0 shipping. https://t.co/cMREGoGDNO

— Steve Smith (@nightafternight) April 10, 2018

j., Wednesday, 11 April 2018 00:16 (nine months ago) Permalink

$10 for, should say

j., Wednesday, 11 April 2018 00:16 (nine months ago) Permalink

I love Cecil as an artist and as a human being. And miss his presence already. This world just gets sadder and duller all the time. But what i mostly came to say is My God, he is expensive to collect! All the really important, "must have" stuff by him is just insanely expensive. I don't know, i guess i'll just have to keep downloading them instead.

VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 05:07 (nine months ago) Permalink

I kee[ thinking that artist's deaths lead to reissue campaigns but not sure how true that is. Would be good if it was though.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 07:39 (nine months ago) Permalink

All the really important, "must have" stuff by him is just insanely expensive.

Some of his career highlights (for me) are still pretty cheap and easy to find: Unit Structures, Conquistador!, the aforementioned trio with Bill Dixon and Tony Oxley on Victo. But yeah, his vast output on FMP is either not-exactly-cheap (around $30), crazy overpriced ($150 for The Hearth, a trio with Evan Parker and Tristan Honsinger), or just impossible to find.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 14:20 (nine months ago) Permalink

I have really got into the unrelenting brilliance of his Feel Trio album with Oxley and Parker. Fuck, it is amazing.

calzino, Friday, 20 April 2018 12:30 (nine months ago) Permalink

I can't put my finger on what it is I like about Parker's contribution to this awesome recording, but I love any band with him in it.

calzino, Friday, 20 April 2018 13:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

The writer knew Cecil a bit so there are some good, reflective quotes from Taylor's past relationships with various people in the artistic Black community he was part of, and fought with.


xyzzzz__, Thursday, 17 May 2018 11:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's a beautiful piece.

It's funny, Taylor has a habit of viciously (and sometimes hilariously) shit-talking people he'd been friends and/or collaborators with for years, or sometimes decades, but no one's ever said, "Then why did you continue to work with them?" or "Then why did you make four albums and go on tour with that musician who couldn't grasp your music?"

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:30 (eight months ago) Permalink

Shatz also did a rather wonderful piece on Mal Waldron in The Nation last year.

calzino, Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:40 (eight months ago) Permalink

My favorite nickname he had for a fellow pianist he wasn't too fond of (this was when I was assisting on a documentary about him) was "Herbulous Hunchback"

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:46 (eight months ago) Permalink


calzino, Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:48 (eight months ago) Permalink

If I ever fully transcribe our "interview"/"conversation" for The Wire, I feel like I should subdivide it into categories:

- Cecil shit-talks his former collaborators (Bill Dixon and Ronald Shannon Jackson were the two who got hit hardest)
- Cecil shit-talks other musicians (Miles Davis was the clear winner here, though Keith Jarrett and the Rolling Stones came up too)
- Cecil praises other musicians, all of whom are dead (Billie Holiday, Horace Silver, Max Roach, Jimmy Lyons)

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 17 May 2018 14:19 (eight months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I just picked up the double of Cecil’s concert with Mary Lou Williams. I’d never heard of it, but now I’m reading it’s regarded as a disaster... but how bad could it be?

Scam jam, thank you ma’am (Sparkle Motion), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:30 (seven months ago) Permalink

One weird thing about that record is the slap-back echo effect on Cecil's channel. Weirdly, for the most part, it works.

I love the record, and it's fascinating to hear each player edge towards each other's approach, however minimally or briefly. For some reason, though, whoever set the thing up did so not realizing that Cecil Taylor is gonna do what Cecil Taylor does. That was apparently a source of tension for Williams and (especially) her rhythm section.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:37 (seven months ago) Permalink

three months pass...


As we ate, a procession of admirers and hangers-on stopped by our table to pay their respects. One was a tall West Indian man in a homemade white turban who called himself The Captain, and seemed to know Taylor well. I asked him what sort of work he did. “I do a variety of things,” he replied.

nice Shatz piece written shortly after his death. Blasting out Conquistador whilst reading it felt good!

calzino, Tuesday, 2 October 2018 11:10 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, definitely one of the better pieces on Cecil. And my friend/collaborator trumpeter Arthur Brooks is in the photo from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (far left, back to camera). Brooks and Frank Wright (far right, seated at the piano) were chosen by Cecil to be the co-lead soloists on an orchestra piece, and Brooks rehearsed the band. George Lewis and (I think) Anthony Braxton were also part of this group.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 3 October 2018 18:14 (three months ago) Permalink

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