Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Cecil Taylor Unit
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
Whether he's playing solo piano or working in a group, Cecil Taylor creates whirlwinds of sound, layers of intricately detailed percussive patterns that form into long overlapping arcs and result in works of extraordinary ... more »
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Whether he's playing solo piano or working in a group, Cecil Taylor creates whirlwinds of sound, layers of intricately detailed percussive patterns that form into long overlapping arcs and result in works of extraordinary scale and density. However controversial or demanding his work has been, in a career that stretches back to the early 1950s, it's rooted deeply in the jazz tradition of kinetic rhythmic dialogue. On this sextet recording from 1978, Taylor is joined by alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, trumpeter Raphé Malik, violinist Ramsey Ameen, bassist Sirone, and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. Taylor's complex methodology here involves both written scores and free improvisation, but the elements are integrated into thick group textures in which lines of demarcation become blurred. There are three pieces, long by the standards of jazz and short by the standards of Taylor's live performances since the mid-'60s. "Idut" and "Serdab" are each about 15 minutes, "Holiday en Masque" nearly 30. All are densely concentrated rather than diffuse. "Idut" is a study in pointillist fragments, while "Serdab" seems focused on expanding rhythmic motifs. "Holiday en Masque" develops a teeming group language with long tension curves. Taylor and Lyons had been working together steadily since 1961, and their interplay approaches the telepathic. What is most astonishing about Taylor's group playing is the way it touches on, extends, and forms every part of the work. A brilliant musical raconteur, Taylor is simultaneously engaged in conversation with each member of the ensemble, in dialogue with drums and bass, commenting on a horn's phrase, offering new materials, and forging links between disparate threads. When the other parts fall away to solo piano, all the topics of the group discourse are still present, but with a sharpened clarity. --Stuart Broomer
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"Unit" Is Taylor 's Greatest Band
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This edition of The Cecil Taylor Unit, featured here on the album of the same name, is definitely the pianist's greatest group. This Unit, consisting of Jimmy Lyons on alto sax, Raphe Malik on trumpet, Ramsey Ameen on violin, Sirone on bass and Ronald Shannon Jackson on drums, also recorded the two classic albums "3 Phasis" and "One Too Many Salty Swift And Not Goodbye" (see my review). "The Cecil Taylor Unit" features three extended compositions -- "Idut" and "Serdab" each logging in at over 14 minutes, and "Holiday En Masque" the longest at more than 29 minutes. As with other Taylor recordings, this music is very creative, involved, complex, distinctive, and will be difficult to listen to for many out there. But those who can get passed the "noise" will be rewarded with some very personal musical revelations. A final note about this album, for all those people out there who think that the NEA was just used to fund controversial artists like Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethrope, this album would not have been possible without grants from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation."
A Very Short Review
T. Carr | San Francisco, California United States | 01/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend of mine, after listening to this album, said that it was, "Rude... rude and beautiful."Which I think is the best description of Mr. Taylor's work that I've ever heard. I was lucky enough to catch the late 70's-through-late-80's Units live quite a few times- and in all honesty, the full impact of a Taylor performance *can't* really be captured by recording technology, even as it is now. But this stunning album comes very close to doing so."