Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley|
Leaf Palm Hand
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest
The Feel Duo
Joe Pierre | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of several live concerts between Cecil and a drummer, recorded during his residence in Berlin for the "Total Music Meeting" in the summer of 1988. This pairing between Cecil and Tony Oxley, which occurred on the last day of his stay, always garners particular critical praise as a highpoint of the event, captured on FMP's excellently recorded 11-CD collection. It is deserving.
Tony Oxley has established himself as an intimate musical partner of Cecil, starting their relationship on this disc; then forming 'The Feel Trio' with William Parker (bass) in 1989 and recording "Celebrated Blazons," "Looking," and the monster 10-CD concert collection "Two T's for a Lovely T" (Condanza Records); and more recently touring heavily as a duo again over the past two years (2003-2004). Despite their frequent pairing, this is the only recording of them as a duo thus far on CD.
While Cecil is often described as a percussive player (playing "88 tuned drums"), Oxley's playing is impressionistic, largely devoid of syncopated rhthym, and rather melodic. As such, they achieve a sort of perfect harmony though there is of course hardly any melody to speak of. Oxley's drumming includes heavy use of wood blocks, what sounds like tiny little drums, and melodic tom-toms -- his playing is typically somewhat gentle (without a lot of crashing breakers on the cymbals unlike Gunther Sommer on "In East Berlin" who seems to compete for spotlight and volume) and consistently a-rhthymic (unlike Han Bennik on "Spots, Circles, and Fantasy").
On the tunes here, Stylobate 1 features a lot of Cecil's signature thundering chords, while Leaf Palm Hand goes into more rapid-fire playing that melds with Oxley's. It's during this title track that it almost seems as though the cymbals and drums are suspended around Cecil and are sprung to life by the reverberations of the Bosendorfer rather than Oxley himself, such is their interplay. Chimes is more a quiet final movement in Leaf Palm Hand than a distinct piece, followed by two actual encores -- Stylobate 2, a brief but energetic romp full of powerful playing from both Cecil and Oxley, and The Old Canal with Oxley taking a very minor role and Cecil playing very spare, melodic phrases to conclude the concert. The Old Canal is incidentally something of an oddity, in that an encore with the same title is played on the "In East Berlin" disc -- and Cecil rarely has recorded a tune (or at least a tune with the same name) more than once.
There's no poetry or vocalisms in this concert, and William Parker's bass seems conspicuously absent since I have listened to so much of The Feel Trio's work prior to hearing this recording (if you like this concert, check out "Celebrated Blazons" or even "Nailed" with Evan Parker). And so, this is Taylor and Oxley together, without accompaniment, that unlike some of the other Berlin duos is a study not of contrasts, but of harmony, inasmuch as that word is fitting for free jazz and the world of Cecil Taylor.