cecil taylor in paris


CECIL TAYLOR (Japan BYG YX 4003-4)

Cecil Taylor / piano, Jimmy Lyons / alto saxophone, Alan Silva / bass, Andrew Cyrille / drums.

Side One: “Student Studies” (part 1) (15?56?), Side Two: “Student Studies” (part 2) (10?54?), Side Three: “Amplitude” (19?49?). Side Four: “Niggll Feuiglu” (11?58?).

Recorded: November 30, 1966 in performance, Paris.

Recorded nearly two months later than Conquistador (Blue Note 84237), almost six months later than Unit Structures (Blue Note 84260), this is both an extension and fuller realisation of the convergence of Taylor’s compositional and improvisational concerns. “Student Studies” and “Amplitude” (which were most likely played together, without interruption) are highly organized pieces, maybe more so than any of the Blue Note tracks, but are looser in execution. In addition, the organization, such as it is, is an all-pervading one rather than (as on the Blue Note LP’s) mainly “sectional” in conception.

taylor_great_paris.jpgIn both pieces of music, it is the way they take shape or are shaped that is significant. It is the movement of the sound and the inter-relationship between tones and between instruments – the setting up of multiple rhythmic/harmonic advances and suspensions – that carries the force and weight of these creative efforts. There is an astonishing group interplay to which Silva’s bass lends an even greater depth and fluidity. In a certain sense, these pieces are less linearly conceived than most Taylor compositions: they utilize space more and are somewhat more “expansive” in their overall musical design.

But to say that is deceiving. For in the final piece, ” Feuiglu ” (a very direct link to Taylor’s current styling’s), it is almost as if – in a speeded up way – Taylor has completely encompassed and incorporated that sense of the music into his improvisations themselves; as if the compositional form of pieces such as “Studies” and “Amplitude” now becomes the content of his actual playing, while a newer (freer) and more highly elastic form emerges.

In any case, ” Feuiglu” is an outstanding Taylor piece. Lyons, in his opening improvisation, does some of his most exciting and well thought out playing on record – certainly, in its implication for the further development of his style, well beyond anything on the Blue Note releases. And except for the shortness of the piece (a mere 12 minutes), this could be mistaken for any Taylor composition of today. It is also perhaps worth noting that the opening part of Lyons final statement was recently used as the introductory theme to the second part of Spring of Two Blue-Js (Unit Core 30551). This, then, is an issue of some significance, providing us with additional (”live”) documentation of a quite important period in the development of Taylor’s music.

Henry Kuntz, 1974


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