Cecil Taylor: Steps
Cecil Taylor (piano)
Unit Structures (Blue Note CD CD 84237)
Rating: 86/100 (learn more)
With the exception of three tracks for Gil Evans’ Into The Hot album, Taylor’s 1966 Blue Note sessions were the pianist’s first studio recordings in over five years. During the interim, he continued to develop his band concept on club dates and in concert. “Steps” demonstrates the high-energy improvising, intricate written passages, extreme dynamic shifts, and total rhythmic fragmentation that came to define Taylor’s work. The first few minutes are a formidable thicket—tangled lines and broken phrases—that may discourage first-time listeners, but a structure reveals itself, the piece becoming an episodic sequence of recognizable events (saxophone solos, a piano/drums duo). The muddy, inaudible basses are a major drawback, though.
Reviewer: Joe Petrucelli