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Old 04.06.2018, 08:37 AM   #1
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Got to see him in SF with the Unit. Sat right behind Herbie Hancock.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Taylor
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Old 04.06.2018, 09:35 AM   #2
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o man! he was great— also a hilarious guy

i drank with him one night after his show, he had a ton of stories about everyone. “aretha was HOT!”

goodnight cecil. we’ll miss you.
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Old 04.06.2018, 11:33 AM   #3
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A true radical.
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Old 04.06.2018, 04:11 PM   #4
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Devastating. Probably the last of the Great Ones. McCoy Tyner and Wayne Shorter are still around, but in terms of reinventing this shit... This is it.
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Old 04.06.2018, 04:13 PM   #5
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yeah, him and Muhal. At least he didn't die young.
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Old 04.06.2018, 04:31 PM   #6
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Come to think of it (what an omission! ), Anthony Braxton's also alive and creating (a lot), and for all his "modern composition" approach only a wuss librarian like Marsalis would say he's not jazz. Having said that, Braxton is sixteen years younger than Taylor, so, again, Cecil was the last titan of his generation standing.
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Old 04.06.2018, 09:56 PM   #7
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Sonny Rollins is still alive... just sayin'
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Old 04.06.2018, 10:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuhb
Sonny Rollins is still alive... just sayin'

VERY true; I've just been thinking of those who were more on the (ostensibly) destructo side of things. But Sonny is one saxophone colossus, of course.
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Old 04.06.2018, 10:57 PM   #9
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a few other living notables
Wadada
Shepp
Roscoe Mitchell
GEORGE LEWIS!
Joseph Jarman!!!!
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Old 04.06.2018, 11:49 PM   #10
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no love for sonny rollins?
oh yeah internet hi fives kuhb

also:brötzmann
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Old 04.07.2018, 08:21 AM   #11
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https://pitchfork.com/news/cecil-taylor-dead-at-89/
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Old 04.08.2018, 03:27 PM   #12
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thurston posted this on instagram
  • thurstonmoore58We began to play, Tom Surgal on drums, and myself guitar. Cecil was to join us onstage. He bided his time as we went through improvised ministrations. After 20 minutes we rested in a drone meditation, humming, buzzing. And we hear then Cecil sounding through his mouth, yowling, glossallalia, ululation walking in from behind the bandstand -- he tosses a small cymbal into the belly of the piano, reaches in and, as music shaman he was, plucks the resounding root note of our noise. From there we went forward. Cecil, backstage after, champagne glass in hand, whispers to me,"that was the real thing".
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Old 04.08.2018, 03:31 PM   #13
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apparently the organ player for the boston red sox played part of an early cecil tune at a game after he had passed.

good guy.
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Old 04.09.2018, 08:38 PM   #14
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From The Wire:

 


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Cecil Taylor 1929–2018. By Phil Freeman

Cecil Taylor died at his New York home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on 5 April 2018. He was 89

Born on 25 March 1929, Cecil Taylor was raised in Corona, in the New York borough of Queens. He began playing the piano at age six. He said that when he expressed an interest in the instrument, his mother informed him that he would be a doctor or a lawyer, and the piano would be his avocation. She imposed a rigorous practice schedule on him, and he became a master of the instrument, studying at the New York College of Music and the New England Conservatory. In 1955, he returned to New York and formed a quartet with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, bassist Buell Neidlinger (who died in March), and drummer Denis Charles.

The albums Taylor made between 1956–61 featured a mix of his own compositions and pieces by Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, as well as multiple Cole Porter tunes (“Sweet And Lovely”, “Love For Sale”, and others). Even at the beginning, though, signs of music to come were obvious – his version of “Love For Sale” begins with a solo passage that must have been breathtaking in 1959, and remains astonishing today. During two extended sessions in October 1960 and January 1961, he recorded what would ultimately become five albums’ worth of material with a pool of players that included Lacy, Neidlinger, Charles, drummer Sunny Murray, trombonist Roswell Rudd, and saxophonist Archie Shepp. Shortly thereafter, he began the single most important creative relationship of his life with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons.

Taylor, Lyons and Murray went to Europe in 1962 for a concert tour. At Copenhagen’s Café Montmartre, they recorded Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come, arguably the first document of Taylor’s music in full flower. With Murray abandoning conventional time, and only Lyons’s bebop-rooted lines to anchor them to the past, the trio took off into previously uncharted realms, combining lyricism and explosiveness for up to 20 minutes at a time. But this was to be Taylor’s last recording for four years.

He signed to Blue Note in 1966, and made two albums – Unit Structures and Conquistador! – with a core group consisting of Lyons, bassists Henry Grimes and Alan Silva, and drummer Andrew Cyrille. On Unit Structures, they were joined by trumpeter Eddie Gale and reeds player Ken McIntyre; on Conquistador!, Bill Dixon played trumpet.

Taylor began to perform unaccompanied in the late 1960s, and in the 1970s made some of his most important and revelatory recordings as a solo artist, including Indent, Silent Tongues, and Air Above Mountains. From 1969–73, he taught at Antioch College in Ohio, leading a student orchestra called The Black Music Ensemble. He also taught for one year at the University of Wisconsin, where he infamously failed most of his students after they ignored his admonition to go see Miles Davis perform locally. (Taylor disliked Davis as a person, but had tremendous respect for his music.) In 1978, he was one of a group of jazz musicians invited by US President Jimmy Carter to perform at the White House.

That same year, Taylor formed arguably his greatest band – a sextet featuring trumpeter Raphé Malik, Lyons, violinist Ramsey Ameen, bassist Sirone and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. Together, they blended blues and swing with modern classical and free jazz, even nodding to African-American string bands at times – Ameen’s violin was central to the group sound. But after two studio albums, The Cecil Taylor Unit and 3 Phasis, and the live albums Live In The Black Forest and One Too Many Salty Swift And Not Goodbye, they were gone, a brilliant flash that dissipated as quickly as it had appeared.

Taylor always had a fascination with dance – he famously told writer AB Spellman, “I try to imitate on the piano the leaps in space a dancer makes.” During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he collaborated with dancer and choreographer Dianne McIntyre’s group Sound In Motion, and composed and played the music for a ballet featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Heather Watts. His European concerts of the 1980s, featuring an ensemble that included Lyons, bassist William Parker, drummers André Martinez and Charles Downs, and Downs’s wife Brenda Bakr on vocals, and also incorporated dancers at times, as in this performance filmed for German television.

In 1988, he traveled to Berlin for an extended residency documented in the massive In Berlin 88 boxset. There, he recorded duos with a variety of drummers, including Han Bennink, Louis Moholo, Tony Oxley and Günter ‘Baby’ Sommer, and with guitarist Derek Bailey; led a massive ensemble of European players; conducted a workshop; and played solo. The project also inaugurated his longest running and most fruitful relationship with a label – in the 30 years since that residency, FMP has issued more than a dozen Taylor titles.

Jimmy Lyons died in 1986, and Taylor’s work was fundamentally changed. He never established that kind of deep, extended partnership with another artist; indeed, other than some large ensembles, he seemed to prefer to play in trio or solo contexts, frequently switching bassists and drummers. Recordings in his final two decades were infrequent, though each one was a major statement in its own way, whether it was the 1999 summit conference Momentum Space, with saxophonist Dewey Redman and drummer Elvin Jones, the 1998 duo with violinist Mat Maneri at the Library of Congress released in 2004 as Algonquin, the 2000 performance leading the Italian Instabile Orchestra documented on 2003’s The Owner Of The River Bank, or the controversial performance at the 2002 Victoriaville Festival with Bill Dixon and Tony Oxley, at which Taylor seemed to allow the trumpeter to dictate the terms, abandoning his usual torrential style in favour of gentle ripples of notes.

Taylor’s piano style could be both highly percussive and volcanically melodic, but he was capable of great tenderness as well. He commanded the entire keyboard, and conventional pianos were sometimes not enough for him – whenever possible, he played a Bösendorfer Imperial, which offers nine additional keys at the lower end of the instrument’s range. In her landmark book As Serious As Your Life, Valerie Wilmer famously described his style as treating the keyboard “like 88 tuned drums”, and quoted him as saying, “We in Black music think of the piano as a percussive instrument: we beat the keyboard, we get inside the instrument.” His florid, romantic approach was entirely dependent on impeccable finger technique and astonishing speed; he mostly stayed off the pedals, preferring to punch out every note as cleanly and articulately as possible.

Taylor received numerous awards throughout his life: a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973, a MacArthur Fellowship (the so-called ‘genius grant’) in 1991, and a Kyoto Prize in 2014. In the latter case, the prize money was stolen by an acquaintance but eventually recovered. Between 1997–2016 I saw him perform five times, in various contexts from solo to leading a large ensemble, and I interviewed him in 2016 for the cover story of The Wire 386, when he was the subject of an exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In person, he was witty and charming, relishing the role of raconteur and happy to spend hours regaling a writer with stories about musicians he’d known in his decades-long career, periodically (and unsuccessfully) attempting to convince the museum’s curator to let him smoke indoors. He was a man who decided early on in life who and what he was going to be, and never deviated from that path, no matter where it led him. In that sense, his considerable influence extends far beyond just the sound of his music; like Sun Ra or Ornette Coleman, he was an artist who insisted on his own importance and the value of his work.
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Old 04.10.2018, 07:14 AM   #15
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Thanks, awesome obit! I was really glad I saw him w/ Lyons. I noted that the obit above finally mentioned swing, didn't really mention bop. I personally think that extreme hard bop (mohs scale stuff) was his forte, and no doubt, the guy could swing. The quote above about "the percussive use" of the piano is priceless. RIP...
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Old 04.12.2018, 09:06 AM   #16
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NY Times Obit https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/06/o...ylor-dead.html
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Old 04.18.2018, 08:15 PM   #17
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From The Wire:

Quote:
Archive Portal: Cecil Taylor
To mark the passing of Cecil Taylor, who died on 5 April 2018 aged 89, we present a selection of articles drawn from The Wire’s online archive in which other musicians discuss the pianist and his music


Searching for 'Cecil+Taylor' in The Wire's online archive throws up more than 200 results, including the four extended interviews the magazine conducted with the pianist, which appeared in issues 46/47, 82/83, 124 and 386. For this Archive Portal, however, we have picked a selection of interviews with other musicians, all talking about their experiences of Cecil and his music, whether as peers, collaborators, acolytes or listeners. Click the links to access the articles.

Max Roach interviewed by Skip Lazlo
Issue 1 Summer 1982

Andrew Cyrille interviewed by Val Wilmer
Issue 9 November 1984

Diamanda Galás’s Invisible Jukebox
Issue 153 November 1996

Sunny Murray’s Invisible Jukebox
Issue 199 September 2000

Borah Bergman interviewed by Andy Hamilton
Issue 235 September 2003

Vijay Iyer’s Epiphany
Issue 293 July 2008

Andrew Cyrille interviewed by Andy Hamilton
Issue 301 March 2009

Idris Ackamoor interviewed by Geeta Dyal
Issue 389 July 2016

Tyshawn Sorey’s Invisible Jukebox
Issue 406 December 2017
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Old 04.18.2018, 08:20 PM   #18
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Also from The Wire:

Quote:
Three seconds in the world of Cecil Taylor. By Tony Herrington
The Wire’s publisher zooms in on one bad riff as a way of entering the late pianist’s musical universe


“That’s just a bad riff,” announced Diamanda Galás during an Invisible Jukebox interview in The Wire 153. It sounds like the High Priestess of Gothic melodrama might have been responding to a particularly amplified moment of metal monomania, that hyper-tense combination of drive and stasis, momentum and repetition that defines the baddest riffs of all time. In fact, Diamanda was commenting on a moment that occurs in “Second Pleasure”, a track on Always A Pleasure, a release on the German FMP label that documents a 1993 Berlin performance by The Cecil Taylor Ensemble.

Diamanda might have once been labelled a Satanist by Cecil Taylor himself, but she knew one thing for sure: that when it came to getting a handle on Cecil's music, which at first glance could appear monumental, grandiloquent, self-aggrandizing and full of hubris, the devil really was in the detail.

“Second Pleasure” is not a track per se (although it’s marked out on the CD issue by PQ edits), but a five minute section in a continuous 70 minute performance. It begins with Cecil rolling a bass figure, that bad riff, under the fingers of his left hand, feeling it out, applying sensual pressure at all the significant points, keys yielding to the touch; then with both hands he slides it up through the registers, amplifying the intensity with increasingly urgent motion, before tying it off by hitting a sequence of blue-hued notes with laser precision, but injecting them with just enough harmonic ambiguity to keep you suspended in the heightened eroticism of the moment.

It’s a process that takes just three seconds to unfold, and Cecil repeats it numerous times over the next five minutes, each time mutating and expanding the original phrase with variations in attack, sonority, note choice and timing until it has been transformed into a long unbroken line that is sent flying through the upper registers – which makes this particular passage a ripe one for study for anyone interested in getting their heads around Cecil’s developmental approach to improvisation.

That's one way into Cecil Taylor's music. Another is to consider the fact that by the time of the recording of Always A Pleasure, the pianist must have played this phrase, this bad riff, hundreds of times before: it appears on most of his records from 1966’s Student Studies onwards.

As with Ornette Coleman, that other historically imbued radical actor of 20th century black American music, Cecil Taylor’s music was partly an art of quotation and recontextualisation, or cut and paste. His improvisations drew from a vast library of fragments – favourite phrases, motifs, licks and riffs; intervals, inversions and voicings – which he summoned forth into the here and now each time he soloed, reconfiguring and recombining them, impacting them into one another at great speed and with immense force. This is why listening to a Cecil Taylor performance can bring forth sensations of déjà vu (historical echoes) and future shock (revolutionary statements) simultaneously. In an ongoing act of vernacular surrealism, the familiar was made strange again by being rendered in utterly new conjunctions.

But to get back to that bad riff, and to expand on Cecil’s own description of a single struck note, it is a whole continent, a world in itself. And peering through its molten liquid surface, down into fathomless depths below, we can just catch sight of Alvin Alley’s limbs describing arcs and parabolas through space, while James Baldwin recites tactile homoerotica, and Roll ’Em Pete Johnson vibrates the air with sustained low end pressure. It is, in other words, the world Cecil Taylor’s music made condensed into a moment; a world he created (had to create, in fact) for want of any existing world generous or expansive enough to accommodate him whole.

It was Cecil’s world, but we can all still live in it.
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Old 04.19.2018, 08:58 AM   #19
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thanks for all that! I've bookmarked this to be able to return and read thru those Wire articles in the future.
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Old 04.20.2018, 12:36 AM   #20
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Bytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's assesBytor Peltor kicks all y'all's asses
Thanks for sharing Thurston’s Instagram post!

A solid story shared with me was about Cecil at a week of Masters classes at Oberlin in the early 90’s. Cecil didn’t play a single note on the piano all week. When the end of week Saturday night concert came to an end, Cecil walks out on stage wearing pajamas and started reading poetry. He read long enough that people started leaving......once the room was thinned out, Cecil slayed the piano for two hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by themawt71
thurston posted this on instagram
  • thurstonmoore58We began to play, Tom Surgal on drums, and myself guitar. Cecil was to join us onstage. He bided his time as we went through improvised ministrations. After 20 minutes we rested in a drone meditation, humming, buzzing. And we hear then Cecil sounding through his mouth, yowling, glossallalia, ululation walking in from behind the bandstand -- he tosses a small cymbal into the belly of the piano, reaches in and, as music shaman he was, plucks the resounding root note of our noise. From there we went forward. Cecil, backstage after, champagne glass in hand, whispers to me,"that was the real thing".
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אש זרה


A Friend Of The Devil Is A Friend Of Mine
If I Get Home Before Daylight
I Just Might Get Some Sleep Tonight - GD

 
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