Tag Archives: cecil taylor

Happy Birthday Cecil Taylor

Love Garden, and respect Indent, Spring of Two Blue-Js and Silent Tongues, but for expression, concision and the recorded sound of instrument, here’s the solo album I go back to most often. ‘Cept for that homemade cassette of the maestro rocking in Providence in the mid-’80s.


Cecil Turns 83: Air Above Mountains, Birthdays Within 

Spring of Two Cecils: “Mutation Is Everything”

Destination Out had me cranking the Feel Trio the other day. Felt great. And for some reason I had the itch to roll through One Too Many Salty Swift And Not Goodbye over the weekend as well. Today, I think I’ll return to Spring of Two Blue-Js, and maybe bask in its birth for a sec.

Here’s birthday boy CT speaking with John Schaefer about Bird’s “Embracable You,” Monk’s clusters, and, of course, dear old mom.  After four decades, he’s found a way to craft the rush of dissonance into a ritual exercise built on his signature abstractions and personalized poetics. Here he is defining art.

What are the five key Cecil discs? Hmmm, might have to post on that tomorrow.

Top Five Jazz Moments of the Last 48 Hours


Herlin Riley Treme‘s The Hell Outta The Blue Note:

Need a second line to come sashaying down West 3rd Street? Riley’s your can-do man. The NOLA drummer was equal parts Connie Kay and Earl Palmer during a pithy solo with Ahmad Jamal‘s quartet on Weds night. He clattered the side of the floor tom, fizzled the high-hat, and conjured an array of kinetics that was the essence of groove. Afterward, the boss stood up from his instrument, looked at the crowd, and silently pointed his index finger at his charge, as if to say “Yeah you right.”

Greg Hutchinson Through the Looking Glass  at Smalls

Arrive late and the West Village club doesn’t allow for much of a sight line when it comes to checking out the drummer’s work. But the mirror that hangs above the spot where the traps are usually placed often saves the day, and when bassist-leader Ben Wolfe was putting some of his ultra-glide swing to work during a set of new tunes being recorded for a forthcoming disc (god, is B smoove or what?), it was easy to gauge the chemistry he concocted with his percussionist. Maybe it’s the jazz version of the jumbotron.

Tom Rainey’s Heartbeat Abstractions at Korzo

Pianist James Carney was leading a quartet through a handful of free pieces, and at least twice during the evening – during ballad-esque spots that allowed for the band to float a bit – the drummer found ways to be insistent while still being suggestive. It’s a Tony Williams ploy as I hear it (recheck Spring, y’all), but Rainey wasn’t paralleling that tack, he was simply being pragmatic. In the middle of an amorphous section, a poetic repetition of pulse on the ride cymbal guided the band, architected the performance, and soothed everyone in the room.

Bill Hart’s Thespian Skills at Iridium

Jean-Michel Pilc was throwing Monk into the Beast and hitting the throttle. A twentysomething in the front row was laughing out loud because the band was flying at such a pace. Billy Hart was was giving a hot foot to all the action, and while doing so, making wildly dramatic faces. Each time a new triple-time tom-tom fill arrived, a new level of open-mouthed grin was beamed into the audience. You go to see live performances because you want to see the body language that’s central to the show. Hart puts it right out there.

Tony Williams Working On Cecil Taylor’s Synapses

Was pulling a YouTube clip for a Miles Davis birthday post on Wednesday, and heard a snippet of a Williams’ cymbal flourish that stopped me cold. Got pulled away from it by squabbling kids, and when I returned to the desk I got the notion to spin “Morgan’s Motion,” the only duet between TW & CT. At 2:03 or so, there’s a half-sec that finds the drummer trying to press roll the pianist into oblivion. Of course when the dust settles, Cecil is still firing hollow points with that left hand. It’s the kind of thing that buoys your day. Remember, Taylor’s a percussionist, too.

Save Me, Cecil, Save Me

Couldn’t sleep last night, so I turned to Taylor. Went back to him this morning, too. Rather addictive, yes? Check the left hand / right hand dynamics around the 3:00 minute mark. Anyone have this CD? I’d like to borrow.

I’m prepping a late-80s Q&A between Cecil & Ahmad Jamal for launch in the near future.