Monday, December 8, 2008

Cecil Taylor - Jazz Advance (1956)

This fittingly starts off with a Thelonious composition. However, after stating the theme, Cecil turns into a complete monster. It's like you're watching a nice little porn, but then the hot chick clearly has a bulge. And you're kind of like "well that might be cool I'm open-minded." However, when the panties drop there's a shiny 12" meat mallet and she just starts clubbing a domesticated animal over the head with it. That's what this is like.

Anway, with Bemsha Swing all we've got is drums and piano, and the convention of improvising over a harmonic structure is basically thrown out the window. Instead, the theme is run through the insane gauntlet of Cecil Taylor's mind, and we're left with something approaching an improvised classical composition with a nice little swinging beat in the background. Dissonance in the form of seconds is ubiqitous in a way that, although quite different from Monk, is clearly from the same school of thought.

I don't really have much else to say because what Cecil Taylor is doing here is way above my head. This is some different level shit where infinite possibilities just open up. The mental prowess and control required to envision these ideas is enough to make you get really stoked and practice music all day. Or maybe just take your present back from the birthday party and go home because you'll never be this good.



LateNiteMusic said...

Very interesting comparison. I sadly understand it :) This isn't on Blue Note is it?

Stephen said...

the first paragraph... wow.

Todd said...

Yeah this is a Blue Note release. Wait do you understand the comparison or what guy is doing in his improvisations? Because I'd like to hear someone smarter than me break down Cecil Taylor's agenda.

Anonymous said...

hi. i came to your blog to read the famed first paragraph of this entry.


Don from Oregon said...

Hi Todd
Thanks for this. My copy went south years ago.
Cecil was a very modern player, who was influenced by Art Tatum, as well as Western Avant Garde music (especially Cage and Stockhausen. Modal structures were becoming more prevalent, and what better way to accentuate the "right angles" of a knotty piece of music but with tone clusters and dissonance? Think of him as the Lady Gaga of 1957 (in Jazz circles). The goal was to shock the audience into the new and out of complacency. There was a perceived desire among Jazz musicians to harness what was happening in the rock world
This is amazing stuff!
Don from Oregon