Aggie87

*** Cecil Taylor ***

338 posts in this topic

I'm a relative newbie with respect to Cecil Taylor. In fact I presently own only Love for Sale and Conquistador. I'd like to get a little more into Taylor, but after Conquistador I don't know if I'm ready for the deep-end just yet. I'd like to ease into this music a little more. Any recommendations?

Also, I happened to notice that although Dennis Charles is listed as the drummer on LFS, the liner notes mention Rudy Collins. Is this correct, or a mistake on William Thompson's part?

Finally , I noticed an album called Coltrane Time, but haven't determined if that's his date or Trane's. How is that one? Believe it's their only collaboration, and sounds intriguing, though I guess it's pretty early - relatively speaking - in both of their careers.

Edited by Aggie87

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure it's Rudy Collins on Love For Sale. I'd not noticed that the drummer is listed as Charles. Thanks for bringing this up.

Coltrane Time is indeed Taylor's date. It was originally titled Hard Driving Jazz but later incarnations were isued under Coltrane's name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aggie, CT recommendations. If you don't want to test the real

adventurous yet, try his first BN album 'Unit Structures' and his

Candid quartet album 'The World of Cecil Taylor' (with Archie Shepp).

Next, you might lend two ears to his solo album 'Silent Tongues' on Freedom

(from the 1974 Montreux festival). Outstanding.

Beyond that, there is a whole new world upcoming.

As for 'Coltrane Time', this is an interesting date but quite unique in CT's

career. It was his date and he selected the musicians. Not sure it can be

recommended to Taylor newcomers. I am a great fan of Cecil Taylor and

Kenny Dorham (not to mention Coltrane). Dorham obviously was not

confortable playing this music, to Taylor's great disappointment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd certainly go for the World of Cecil Taylor and any other of the Candid cds assuming they are still in print. I'm especially fond of the earlyTaylors, Looking Ahead on Contemporary and Jazz Advance are well worth having. These are hard swinging dates, very exciting imo and not at all off putting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For an intricate ride on CT´s music, try "It´s in the brewing luminous" (Hatology, 1980). It will take more than one listening...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I'm not questioning brownie's knowledge or taste, it seems to me like Unit Structures might be kind of a daunting place to go to next--one man's opinion. The Candid stuff, as well as the 70s solo work, might be a good intermediate step between the two...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the recommendations. I've been spinning Love for Sale a bit lately, and enjoying it. Conquistador is taking a little longer for me to get into, as to be expected I guess.

I find it interesting that BN hasn't really pushed the Coltrane Time disc - made it a Connosseur or RVG or something. Is it OOP currently? Seems like they'd be all over that as an opportunity to have more BN Coltrane on the market. Though I'd still think it would be more appropriate to have Taylor's name as the leader, not 'Trane's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason I think that BN is not pushing "Coltrane Time" (which when it came out was under Cecil Taylor name) beside the commercial appeal or lack there of for BN, is Kenny Dorham kills this date. He really wasn't into what Cecil was into and just didnt fit in with the others. There was a lot of hostility and bad vibes during the recording of this record between Cecil and Kenny.

There is a story if I recall that later on meeting Cecil on the street Kenny telling him how he has finally caught on. To which if I recall Cecil basically tells him to little to late and to fuck off.

Being a Cecil fanatic I would suggest all the Candids first and Blue Notes than his solo recordings before you get into his Cecil Taylor Unit Recordings. I would also suggest "Looking Ahead" from OJC.

But if you do come across "One Too Many Salty Swift And Not Goodbye" from Hat Hut jump all over it if it is at a price you can afford. Even if you don't like it and I don't see how myself ;) (I would place it in his top 3) it is very much OOP and sells from $50-$250+ on Ebay. So you can easily resell it and most likely make a profit.

"It´s in the brewing luminous" is a great recording but I would say a bit advanced for what your asking for.

Actually your best bet is just to buy them in the order they where recorded. That way you can progress with him as he progress from his Monk & Duke influence (and still playing covers so you have something you know to work with) to his own sound and playing completely free improv. The Exception to this chronological order being the already mentioned "One Too Many Salty Swift". Though you should know he doesn't stay in the cover stage to long. It's over after the Blue Note recordings.

It's times like this that the Blue Note BBS would be great. There where at least 3 Cecil Taylor recommendation threads on that board.

Edited by Mnytime

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Afraid the only Cecil I've got, or ever listened to much are his two BN dates from the mid-60's ("Unit Structures" and "Conquistador")... I do like aspects of both of them, but I've never really gotten my ears around them completely either.

I think I also had Cecil's early 90's recording on A&M, but I can't remember the title (the one in the same series as Sun Ra's "Blue Deight" and "Purple Night"). I've heard a couple other cuts here and there, but have never warmed to Taylor much.

It's not that I'm not into free jazz - as I'm a BIG Ornette and Sun Ra fan. But for some reason or another, Cecil's just never clicked with me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone who has only just tested the waters of Cecil Taylor, I would recommend the following:

The Cecil Taylor Quartet .:. Looking Ahead! (OJC)

This is an early recording of Cecil's conception with vibes, bass, and drums. I would think this would be a very logical next step for you.

Cecil Taylor .:. Jumpin' Punkins (Artists Only)

This is an octet, I believe, and features some seriously swinging arrangements as well as solos from all involved. Clark Terry, Steve Lacy, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Buell Nellinger, Denis Charles... an interesting line-up with great result.

The Cecil Taylor Unit/Roswell Rudd Sextet .:. Mixed (impulse!)

The first three tracks feature an amazing, amazing ensemble with a sound not far removed from that of the Jumpin' Punkins date. Cecil and Jimmy Lyons, Archie Shepp, Ted Curson, Roswell Rudd, Henry Grimes, and Sunny Murray. Whether you care for the second half of the disc or not, these three tracks are worth the price, especially if you like Jumpin' Punkins and want the fire of Jimmy Lyons and !!!Sunny Murray!!! I believe this was originally issued under The Gil Evans Orchestra as Into the Hot if you are looking for vinyl.

Good luck and enjoy. These are the three that I listen to the most. Like I said, I am fairly new to Cecil Taylor's world, so take that into consideration.

I have really grown to love Unit Structures. It took some time for me to hear everything. A brief analysis in John Litweiler's book The Freedom Principle was a great help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

any recommendations for essential solo discs by Cecil? I have heard Air Above Mountains and want to hear more of his solo work, but am not sure where to look next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silent Tongues on Freedom was Down Beat record of the year in 1975 and might be a solo album worth investigating. I don't particularly care for it. Alan Bates who produced and recorded the date says he couldn't understand the accolade but I'm sure he appreciated it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may try his last solo album of a long list of solo album. It's happen to be one of his best ever: The Willisau concert on Intakt (www.intaktrec.ch). it has been recording at the Willisau Festival in 2000 and the piano it's an incerdible good one.

The recording is also first rate.

A great choice in my mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the solo CT recs! I think I know where I can pick up both Willisau and Tree of Life. I think I will save Silent Tongues for later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reviving this one...

I'm looking for recommendations on *essential* CT records after "Nefertiti".

What I do have:

- the BN (UA, Transition) CDs (Jazz Advance, Love for Sale, the one with Trane)

- the five Candid CDs

- Mixed (Impulse)

- Nefertiti (Revenant 2CDs)

- Unit Structures & Conquistador

- Jazz View CD of Town Hall concert (see details below)

- the recent HatOLOGY disc (It Is In The Brewing Luminous)

- the 10CD Codanza Feel Trio Box

- the Willisau Concert (Intakt)

- Embraced (with Mary Lou Williams)

- the Enja CD called "Dark To Themselves"

- the new Taylor/Instabile disc (enja)

What I'd like to find: the concert recordings with Lyons AND Sam Rivers, maybe some important solo discs.

Keep some recommendations coming, please!

Spring of Two Blue-J's:

NYC, November 4,1973

Spring Of Two Blue-J's 16:19

Spring Of Two Blue-J's 21:29

Cecil Taylor: piano; Jimmy Lyons: alto sax(2); Sirone: bass (2); Andrew Cyrille: drums (2)

Spring Of Two Blue-J's:

Unit Core (US) 30551 (lp) 1974

Jazz View (Italy) COD 008 (cd)

source: http://www.shef.ac.uk/misc/rec/ps/efi/mtaylors.html

I will do a radio show on Taylor on Dec.21, and we might begin with some early stuff (up to the Nefertiti recording), and then continue with some late sixties and seventies stuff. What I don't know, and did not explore more thoroughly yet, are the years from around 1966 onwards.

And please don't tell me I have to buy all the FMP stuff - I cannot afford that stuff now!

thanks,

ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I'd like to find: the concert recordings with Lyons AND Sam Rivers, maybe some important solo discs.

The best albums of the Cecil Taylor Unit with Lyons AND Rivers are the 'Nuits de la Fondation Maeght' from the 1969 concerts on the French Riviera that appeared on the Shandar label. 3 albums. These were the only official records by the group. Not sure they are currently available on CDs. Sam Rivers played with CT for a few months only.

There is also a Jazz Connoisseur LP that was released of a 1969 concert in Rotterdam with the same Unit.

The Shandars are really exceptional music. Better than the JC bootleg (sound on that one if off).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The recently re-issued STUDENT STUDIES contains prime C.T. from the mid-60's, with Lyons, Silva and Cyrille. Essential listening, IMHO; one of the most welcome reissues of 2003.

g05721supb6.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks, brownie and Joe, I will keep my eyes open for these!

ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really love the group performances on the 2 New World discs. The same band can be heard live on MPS (Live in the Black Forest) and Hat (One Too Many Salty Swift And Not Goodbye).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Chuck, I think the guy I'm doing the feature with has the New Worlds on LP. I check them out!

ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I'm not questioning brownie's knowledge or taste, it seems to me like Unit Structures might be kind of a daunting place to go to next--one man's opinion. The Candid stuff, as well as the 70s solo work, might be a good intermediate step between the two...

Aggie,

IMO Unit Structures is a reach. I am about where you seem to be with Cecil Taylor. Have Love for Sale, Unit Structures, Coltrane Time and one that I would reccomend, Jazz Advance. Much more accessible than Unit Structures IMO.

Taylor is a challenge. Please let us know where you go from here and how it turns out!! B) B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just read the Taylor chapter in Ekkehard Jost's book "Free Jazz" (from 1972 originally, it has been reissued in german last year, I think; I don't know if it has been out in english, too), and he makes some very interesting points about Taylor.

Obviously he knows the story only until the late sixties (when he wrote the book), but that already makes for a very interesting read.

He looks at the concepts of Taylor's music, speaks of his "energy" thing that replaces what "swing" used to be in jazz before him, talks about the drummers and Taylor's problems with them - and this IS a problem, in my opinion, too: Dennis Charles is just too stiff, too metronomic. Sunny Murray really made a huge change! (and as I just re-listened to that short free improvised trio track with Neidlinger/Higgins from one of the Candid dates, I think playing free Higgins was very good, too, while on O.P. he is similarly awkward as Charles, just playing in another style, of course).

Don't get me wrong, however! There are many things I like about the early Taylor records, and I think up to the Nefertiti I got all of it (with the exeption of the Newport Verve mini-LP which I still have to get).

Jost makes a thorough analysis of the title track of Unit Structures and correlates it with Taylor's construction scheme (he did replace the theme-solos-theme scheme with some more complex concepts, he used three termini to talk about it, the first one being some sort of a prologue, the others called "Area", and "Plain"). What Jost writes seems highly plausible to me, and very very interesting, too. Good help in trying to understand the structural side of Cecil's music, which you often do not get right from the start. The music is so complex you need more than one listen, and knowing Taylor a little bit sure helps, too.

ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the book you mention was issued in English in 1975

excellent writer BTW, that Jost

Edited by couw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the book you mention was issued in English in 1975

excellent writer BTW, that Jost

I thought so, but wasn't sure where I heard that, thanks, couw!

Excellent writer, indeed! He succeeds to express verbally several things about music (and I guess talking/writing about free jazz is even more difficult than about rather traditional forms of jazz) which I have never seen that clearly explained before. The Taylor chapter being a case in point for that.

ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.