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  • Jul 11, 2006
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 people were first getting into free-jazz, picking up momentum in the musical culture, Taylor's music was still considered way out there. Anyway. _Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come_ is incredible, as breathtaking in twenty-first century context as it must have been fifty years ago. Recorded in Copenhagen, Taylor appears in trio format with Sunny Murray (drums) and Jimmy Lyons (alto saxophone). They play Taylor's original compositions except for a fiery version of Haggart and Burke's "What's New" as a launch pad for improvisation. The combination of psychic interplay, dazzling composition, ultra-jazziness, and perfect dissonances was perfect for these men on this day. The huge "D Trad That's What" proves you can have the sickest jazziness in music that is atonal as hell. The first two pieces "Trance" and "Call" make for one of the most intense first 20 minutes of jazz ever. Lyons uses the sax quite idiomatically but with chromatic contours and Murray understands the heavily _percussive_ nature of Taylor's music, and his clearly minded towards interplay vis-à-vis another percussion instrument. The inimitable Taylor is jaw-dropping as always. As a reissue, the package is nice but more liner notes would have been appreciated. It seems there are hidden bonus tracks on each disc as well, featuring fairly poor recordings of high free-jazz. There is input from Lyons and Murray but mostly they are Taylor going crazy. Pretty awesome!

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Clayton Reeder ()
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Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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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
Artist: Cecil Taylor
Release Date: March 18, 1997

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