Cecil Taylor: Song
Cecil Taylor (piano)
Jazz Advance (Blue Note CD 84462 2)
Composed by Cecil Taylor.
Recorded: Boston, MA, September 14, 1956; or Hackensack, NJ, December 10, 1955
Rating: 82/100 (learn more)
Cecil Taylor’s 1956 debut for the Transition label was indeed a Jazz Advance, but didn’t yet mark the arrival of his full-blown avant-garde approach. “Song,” for instance, retains some modern jazz conventions—such as a steady swing beat—that Taylor would later purge from his music. As such, it provides a welcome (or knowable) point of entry into the pianist’s wondrous sound world. Compared with contemporaneous boppers, Taylor sounds unbound, extending the form, following whims, appearing to play many “songs” within just one piece. It’s revealing his sidemen gravitated to Taylor from such diverse backgrounds: Steve Lacy had been steeped in Dixieland, Dennis Charles self-taught, and Buell Neidlinger classically trained. Taylor's enveloping art should engage as wide-ranging an audience.
Reviewer: Joe Petrucelli