Cecil Taylor – Live in the Black Forest (1979/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 51:08 minutes | 918 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS
Recorded live on 3 June 1978 in SWF-Radio JazzConcert in Kirchzarten, Black Forest, West Germany
A leader in the revolution that overtook jazz in the late 50’s and early 60’s, pianist Cecil Taylor’s ‘Unit’ groups reflect the move towards total ensemble Play. The concept of soloist and accompanist is abolished; instead, the improvisations consist of a continual interchange of ideas between players. Alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons played with Taylor from 1961 until Lyon’s death in 1986. Heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, his lyrical style helped tie Taylor’s style to more traditional jazz roots. Trumpeter Ralphe Malik worked with Taylor throughout the 70’s on into the 80’s. “A superb, incendiary performer”, Malik also recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums of his own. Drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson and bassist Sirone are the only musicians to have performed and recorded with the three prime shapers of free jazz, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Albert Ayler. The themes are loosely played melodic phrases used as a starting point for improvisation. In The Eel Pot, Taylor’s sparse, foreboding lines lead into the ensemble’s free interpretation of the theme. The piece proceeds to run the gamut of emotions, with extreme use of dynamics and space. Sperichill On Calling begins with an exquisite piano solo, moves to an ensemble march on into Lyon’s slashing solo accompanied by staccato violin. Movements vary from tender reflection to a seething maelstrom. Intense music that has retained its exploratory depth.
A retrospective look at the sixty-year career of Cecil Taylor, in progress at the Whitney Museum of American Art, incorporates the museum’s unobstructed spaces and impressive views of New York City with multimedia documentation of the great composer/pianist’s sixty years of creative invention. That openness is emblematic of Taylor’s own absence of artistic boundaries. He has worked with dancers, poets, filmmakers and playwrights all while creating the most innovative avant-garde music that modern jazz has to offer. Throughout his career he has been the author of arguably the most challenging free jazz produced, some of which is incomprehensible to an average listener, but still, his music is impossible to ignore.
Live in the Black Forest was originally released in 1978 on the MPS label. The live album consists of two, twenty-five minute pieces that had been recorded earlier that year for a German radio station but had never before been released in a digital format. The German label, Edel, acquired the tapes and the quality of this recording is excellent. Though they were not yet billed as such, the sextet here would later be known as the “Cecil Taylor New Unit” and included trumpeter Raphe Malik, Jimmy Lyons on alto saxophone, Ramsey Ameen on violin, bassist Sirone (Norris Jones) and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. This collective, however, was short lived and the earlier …”Unit,” a highly regarded version of the ensemble that appeared on Unit Structures (Blue Note, 1966), included only Lyons from this group.
“The Eel Pot” is harmonically unimpeded creativeness and demonstrates why Taylor favored his long association with Lyons who immerses himself in this dynamic improvisation with the acrobatic skill necessary for a live collaboration with Taylor. Malik’s commanding, vibrato flashes are a preternatural mélange of warmth and unruliness punctuating Taylor’s snippets of melody and torrents of notes. “Sperichill On Calling” opens with a briefly melodic piano solo joined by Lyons for a bluesy into to an intense collective jam. Jackson aggressively precipitates frantically fast paced hyper-activity that briefly slows with Ameen’s searching solo. He and Taylor command the remaining ten minutes of the performance as the piece shifts in tempo, Lyons and Malik and Sirone abruptly moving in and out of focus.
Even among his fan base, Taylor has been the quintessential riddle wrapped in an enigma. His music is dense and sometimes overwhelming and though Live in the Black Forest is sometimes cited as a more accessible Taylor primer, it is no less complex than the body of his work. Taylor has always had critical detractors but often for no more than the irritating inability to explain his music. Live in the Black Forest is for Taylor fans, particularly those who favor the pianist outside his preferred solo formation. Like most everything Taylor has recorded, this once hard-to-find recording requires patience and open ears. –Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz
1. The Eel Pot 25:27
2. Sperichill On Calling 25:41
The New Cecil Taylor Unit:
Cecil Taylor, piano
Jimmy Lyons, alto saxophone
Raphe Malik, trumpet
Ramsey Ameen, violin
Sirone (Norris Jones), bass
Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums