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Uncompromising and endlessly controversial, Cecil Taylor's percussive, intellectual approach to jazz composition, improvisation, and piano remain largely outside the mainstream after more than 40 years. The performances on these live recordings, made in Copenhagen in 1962, are as bracing and unexpected today as they were the night they were created. A classically trained pianist prior to discovering the music of Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and Horace Silver, Taylor soon developed a percussive, clustered, impressionistic style that, while taking Monk as a harmonic starting point, charts a course straight for the stratosphere. Indeed, Taylor frequently seems to have dispensed with both melody and form, yet he's brilliant at conveying a broad complex of emotions, from introspection to tenderness to rage. Recorded at the famous Cafe Monmartre, these performances capture Taylor in his classic bass-less trio with drummer Sonny Murray and his longtime foil, alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons. It is a breathtaking, sometimes unnerving, recording.--Fred Goodman
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Label:  Revenant Records
ArtistCecil Taylor
Release Date:  March 18, 1997
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review by . July 11, 2006
posted in Music Matters
Man, hard to believe when this album was recorded. True, compared to Taylor's own work earlier releases foreshadowed this and the definitive classic _Unit Structures_ was only four years away. But no contemporary was anywhere close to what Cecil Taylor was doing at this time. Taylor is as much an extension of the modernist composers like Bartok, Stravinsky, Cowell, and the Viennese School, as he was of Ellington and Monk, and he has been a leader of avant-jazz virtually since day one. Even when …
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