3. "R.I.P. no. 1 heavyweight avantgarde champ!!!" In response to Reply # 0 Sat Apr-07-18 10:09 AM by Jakob Hellberg
Cecil is my all-time favorite artist in the sense that when I'm in the mood for Cecil, *nothing* hits me harder. That the music might not work as background music and tend to piss off my close surroundings is a different issue. EVERY week (well, almost) is Cecil week for me but this week (month?) will be so even more.
VERY misunderstood artist as well but thats part of the game when you are avantgarde like that; let's just say that I don't think Cecil was as removed from jazz-tradition as many claimed and his use of percussive dissonance or even atonality was NOT based on some pretentious "playing/writing tonal is old-fashioned" shit; rather, dude wanted to emphasize the *percussive* quality of jazz-piano and by removing the traditional harmonic function of the instrument, it almost literally became a particularly expressive drum-set at times (note that Cecil FAR from always played like that, it's very overstated, perhaps since it was so shocking). Some of the sickest rhytm/sound patterns ever (and yes, it's very much patterns and shapes; NOTING even remotely random or erratic about his playing-he was constructionist to the core and unlike many more modern classical avantgardists, he understood the value of repetition and more "obvious" rhytmic patterns/forms etc-"call and response" in particular).
Also note that his most frequent collaborator, altoist Jimmy Lyons, sounded like a Carlie Parker worshipper let loose in an avantgarde setting so there was always a nod to tradition with him in the band.
Cecil's solo-piano stuff not to mention his collabs with various european free-improvisers like Derek bailey and Tony Oxley may appear less tied to a jazz/black musical tradition but in the case of the latter, it was generally *cecil* who sounded the "rootsiest". The solo-stuff meanwhile do sound more "classical" due to the absence of drums and horns but Cecil always tended to put at least some blues/bebop/ragtime/stride/whatever stuff in there as well.
Ten great Cecil-records in order of recording (NOTE:Cecils music before 62 tends to sound more traditional and "swinging" due to more conventional rhythm-sections; as soon as new drummer Sunny Murray-later with Ayler-found the "free-rhythm" approach in 61-62, the music went to mars and Cecil never really looked back outside of some sections here and there):
World of Cecil Taylor (1960, accessible and dope)
Nefertiti.../Live at Cafe Montmartre (live, 1962. Gamechanging in its approach to rhythm in jazz, still more tied to tradition in other ways at times as well)
Unit Structures (1966, first really OUT record and quite famous. A bit stiff and overarranged IMO, still ,classic)
Conquistador (1966, better than "Unit structures" IMO, bill Dixon! )
Akisakila (live, 1973, WILD!!! Cecil , lyons and drummer Andrew Cyrille never lets up for 80 minutes. I kind of wish he would have done a few more "loose" records like dis one)
Indent (1973) *or* Silent tongues *or* Air above Mountains (all 70's solo-piano recitals, all great but kind of similar outside of different lengths/forms etc.)
Cecil Taylor Unit (1978, GREAT *band*-music here, very much a unit rather than Cecil and some dudes. Quite noisy though!)
Nailed (1990, completely free improv with Tony Oxley, barry Guy and Evan Parker; dark, at times savage stuff, not very restrained. Great to play when you want to tell the world to go to hell)
Feel trio boxset (more free improvs from the 90s but more accessible due to the conventional trio format and very dynamic playing from cecil, oxley and William Parker. Awesome)
Wilisau concert (2000, solo-piano and often the most beautiful record he did ,still intense (duh!) and unsentimental though)
EDIT:his three songs on Gil Evans "Into the hot" (1961, also released on impulse in de 90's as "Mixed" alongside a completely unrelated and somewhat hit-and-miss Roswell Rudd-record) are amazing too; great, somewhat post-bop sound with Sunny Murray, Jimmy Lyons *and* Archie Shepp:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDy8f_hlRdE
9. "Yeah, I've been there..." In response to Reply # 8
>On a side note, I recently tried to put a co-worker on to >Cecil. > >We pull up some of his stuff on Spotify. >I hit play. >She looked at me with the screwface after about 20 seconds of >listening. > >I did not make a new fan that day.
I gave up a long time ago though,even many people into *free-jazz* don't seem to dig him. Oh well...
8. Cecil Taylor Lena (from Live at the Caf� Montmartre, Fantasy). Jimmy Lyons, alto saxophone; Taylor, piano.
"Take it off! That's some sad shit, man. In the first place, I hear some Charlie Parker cliches. . . . They don't even fit. Is that what the critics are digging? Them critics better stop having coffee. If there ain't nothing to listen to, they might as well admit it. Just to take something like that and say it's great, because there ain't nothing to listen to, that's like going out and getting a prostitute.
L.F.: This man said he was influenced by Duke Ellington.
M.D.: I don't give a shit! It must be Cecil Taylor. Right? I don't care who he's inspired by. That shit ain't nothing. In the first place he don't have the - you know, the way you touch a piano. He doesn't have the touch that would make the sound of whatever he thinks of come off.
I can tell he's influenced by Duke, but to put the loud pedal on the piano and make a run is very old-fashioned to me. And when the alto player sits up there and plays without no tone. . . . That's the reason I don't buy any records."
I always liked his playing, but hey... As an aside, "Them critics better stop having coffee" sounds like a mistermaxxxx rant
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