Cecil Taylor: Idut
Cecil Taylor (piano)
The Cecil Taylor Unit (New World 201)
Raphe Malik (trumpet), Ramsey Ameen (violin), Sirone (bass).
Composed by Cecil Taylor.
Recorded: April 1978
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
This nearly 15-minute-long track is performed by the Unit featuring longtime Taylor confrere Jimmy Lyons on alto sax, the underrated trumpeter Raphe Malik, violinist Ramsey Ameen, bassist Sirone, and the incendiary drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. Chock full of the free-associative, ultra-intense free improvisation characteristic of Taylor, this music is nevertheless more organized than many another of his ventures.
The music is organized into loose but discrete sections, formed largely by small, motivic gestures played in an asynchronous fashion by the musicians. Ramsey Ameen's fleet, slashing violin lends the music a distinct "contemporary classical" feel, even if his phrasing is heavily jazz inflected. The extraordinary Lyons is as fleet and creative as ever, and Malik's rowdy trumpet puts a welcome edge on the overall group sound. Jackson is arguably the most compelling drummer Taylor ever employed. He's a force of nature, engaging the leader in terms of speed and intensity like few other percussionists.
As for the leader, he's in top form, creating torrents of atonal sound that, even though infinitely complex and decidedly not bluesy, still occasionally manage to invoke the spirit of Horace Silver. This is a great band—one of Taylor's very best, which is saying a great deal.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey