Cecil Taylor: Song




Cecil Taylor (piano)


Jazz Advance (Blue Note CD 84462 2)

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Cecil Taylor (piano), Steve Lacy (soprano sax), Buell Neidlinger (bass), Dennis Charles (drums).

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

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