Cecil Taylor: Silent Tongues


Silent Tongues


Cecil Taylor (piano)


Silent Tongues (1201 Music 9017)

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Cecil Taylor (piano).

Composed by Cecil Taylor


Recorded: Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1974


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

This music is not for the fainthearted. Taylor attacks the keyboard with such force that I'm surprised a few strings didn't break before he had finished all five movements of his extended work for solo piano. Taylor's "touch" at the instrument reminds me of nothing less than a jackhammer at work -- the notes and tone clusters explode from the sound board. Frankly, the technical challenges of this style of pianism are substantial, but don't underestimate the sheer stamina required to maintain this assault for the full duration of a concert. I often recommend Silent Tongues to fans of heavy metal and punk rock, since the intensity and theatricality involved here have much in common with those extreme forms of performance art. Could Cecil Taylor be the Sid Vicious of jazz? But even fans of hard bop and cool jazz might get swept away by the sheer passion of this music, which ranks among Cecil Taylor's most dramatic moments.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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