Search - Cecil Taylor :: Dark To Themselves

Dark To Themselves
Cecil Taylor
Dark To Themselves
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1

A towering figure of avant-garde jazz caught in an uncompromising concert leading one of his best ensembles. Contains the complete, unedited performance. "The most totally appealing recording of Cecil Taylor music" (Cadence).


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CD Details

All Artists: Cecil Taylor
Title: Dark To Themselves
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Enja
Original Release Date: 1/1/1976
Re-Release Date: 6/12/2001
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 063757208426, 081227963828, 4988008923537, 081227963842


Album Description
A towering figure of avant-garde jazz caught in an uncompromising concert leading one of his best ensembles. Contains the complete, unedited performance. "The most totally appealing recording of Cecil Taylor music" (Cadence).

CD Reviews

Someone Ken Burns couldn't relate back to Louis or Bird!
steve | Ontario, Canada | 07/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Doesn't it seem like every artist mentioned on Ken Burns Jazz was related back to Louis Armstrong or Charlie Parker? Dark unto themselves is an absolutley staggering work of art by the master of the avant-garde movement. One track-62 minutes in length. I always say for people just discovering Cecil Taylor, borrow his records from a friend before purchase, because his music can be quite difficult to grasp at first. After that though, buy all the Cecil you can get your greasy mitts on! He's an absolutely brilliant musician and should get more credit where it is due."
Uncool Jazz
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you are already 'advanced' in Taylors music or simply want to confront yourself with something rather overwhelming (or disturbing, if you are not into such 'Free' Jazz) try 'Dark to themselves'. Especially sax- & trombone-enthusiasts should not miss it, for it contains brilliant solos of R. Malik, D.S. Ware and (of course!) Jimmy Lyons. This music burns and screams in a way, which is most obviously not made for a cocktail party. But to an open ear it might turn out to be a revelation."
Fire from The Unit
Joe Pierre | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very strong date from the Cecil Taylor Unit, circa 1976, a time when Cecil's music had already fully blossomed into what it is today -- dense, unbridled, frenetic, passionate, and complex. For those not accustomed to avant-garde (kind of a misnomer now since Cecil's been recording since the 50's) or free jazz, it's safe to say his music can be "difficult" and it's certainly not for everyone, with accessibility inversely proportional to the number of sidemen in his band. Even a die hard fan like myself (particularly in my older, more mellow age) is partial to his solo, duo, and trio work.

And yet, while this might not be the place to start, this is nevertheless an outstanding live concert featuring the Unit as quintet, with Raphe Malik on trumpet, Jimmy Lyons on alto sax, David S. Ware on tenor, and Marc Edwards on drums. It's classic Cecil -- a single tune ("Stream and Chorus of Seed") of more than an hour of non-stop, breakneck piano playing, with the horn players taking turns as soloists. Raphe Malik dominates the first quarter blasting and trilling away on trumpet; David Ware takes over at the 20 minute mark with squallering and upper register explorations easily on par with latter day Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, or David Gilmore; Jimmy Lyons' trademark alto sound emerges at minute 35 (Cecil treasured Lyons, who played alongside for more than two decades); and then by minute 46 the horns yield (out of sheer exhaustion?) to Cecil and the rhythm section to round out the final 15 minutes of the concert. Malik and Ware are incendiary, while Edwards sticks to fairly conventional accompaniment underneath it all. Since the horns rarely play atop one another (except at the start and very end), the music is not as dense and cluttered as on other dates, such as Unit Structures or Winged Serpent (Sliding Quadrants), other noteworthy sessions where things are about as freewheeling as free jazz can be. Most of the music here is therefore really trio music (piano, drums, horn), in the tradition of the classic Live at Monmartre date from 1962 (Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come), but now fully matured (and with much better recording quality).

Definitely among Cecil's very best group outings.