Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cecil Taylor - 1971 - Nuits De La Fondation Maeght

Cecil Taylor 
Nuits De La Fondation Maeght

Second Act Of A Vol.1
01. Face A 21:25
02. Face B 19:55
Second Act Of A Vol.2
03. Face A 18:20
04. Face B 16:22
Second Act Of A Vol.3
05. Face A 13:00
06. Face B 20:00

Alto Saxophone – Jimmy Lyons
Drums – Andrew Cyrille
Piano, Voice – Cecil Taylor
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Sam Rivers

Recorded at Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Paris, July 29th, 1969, under the auspices of the Maeght Foundation as part of the concert series "Nuits de la Fondation Maeght".

This was a truly magical night for the Taylor unit. The interplay between Lyons and Rivers is impeccable, exploring intervallic reaches of tonal ambience and equanimity. The lack of a bassist in this case is a plus, not a minus, as Taylor gets to indulge his rhythmic impulse to the extreme in order to let the two sax players go into arpeggio overdrive in tandem. The polytonality of Rivers is especially important here as he doesn't so much collide with Lyons, who instinctively knew, in 1969, how Taylor articulated his language, he "extends" him linguistically. Rivers brittle tone on tenor and his shrill soprano engage the steady polyrhythmic attack of Lyons whose ostinato are the cues Taylor takes for his own when moving the piano into solo position. And the two horns find the striated expanses of sonic terrain Taylor prepares them for. And Cyrille knows just how to escalate; the result is no less spectacular than John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders on Live in Seattle -- the only real difference is, it's Taylor who does the yelling and shouting when the music gets to the outer limits and can't express what he needs it to. The great Paris concert in its entirety is a Taylor masterpiece.

Nuits De La Fondation Maeght, trilogy recordings (for me) is his best work from a particularly enigmatic period. Taylor was playing sprawling immeasurably intense reckless refulgence & asymmetrical avant wizardry with the insane Andrew Cyrille, for me indubitably one of the most fantastic & original drummers ever. Out of the many things that could be said, I would emphasise that Taylor & his unit redefined the elongated-outburst & prolonged-peaking coming with ceaseless surging’s of unparalleled clamour & volatility. Frequently without intervals, extenuation or cessation they would dance an immensely detailed & dynamic squall within the singularity of remorseless & unforgiving outermost, fully-cyclic, hell-for-leather frenzy. A heteronomous hurricane & blitzing blizzard of ebullient fulmination Cyrille was able to maintain physically these momentous requirements but also inflect with a cycle of extensive improvisational embellishment & continually capricious contrasting...

Taylor’s closest adjutant saxophonist Jimmy Lyon’s would also duck in & out with sax screel & hysteria. These Olympic stints of decadent comminute went way beyond the threshold, agreeable limitation or somatic restriction that pretty much everybody else was on, with an unapologetic & frankly extremist activity/ideology of severe surplus pandemonium & improvident forceful action whilst exercising immense technical credibility. Many a marvel of withering extravagance was being exercised by other legends during this great era, but this lot did it, to my knowledge, longer & harder without intermission including mostly for each individual musician (consecutive group participation), never slacking & all exploding into one sustained shock-wave of terrific turbulence. these recordings though, do offer the secondary function of a more Avant-Garde slower & emotionally alternate medium occasionally with vocal extracts from Taylor. They are stunning diverse & intricate but also often bizarre. This is another phenomenon of Cecil Taylor & much of his music, lyrics & imagery. It’s dark, I would say at times even quite minatory. Much of the furore from the depths of Free Jazz’s sonic battle field encompassed anger, madness & intensity are as a commodity, but Taylor as with Sunny Murray often depicts & conjures stuff that I would not feel at error calling nasty, dark, or threatening in a direct & mostly unequivocal manner

Yes, for me, tones of hazard, tragedy & outright tenebrous madness etc are very apparent (hell, it could be just my misinterpretation, but I feel these elements skulk within his work amongst other sentiments & energies of a far more positive distinction). This is another specialist feature of Taylor & contributes even more to his significant idiosyncrasy. Anyway, as for this mind-blowingly marvellous 3LP set released by Shandar, there is another foreign element/irregularity that kicked shit completely into hyper-space. On these recordings they threw fucking Sam Rivers into the mix! Can you imagine? As if things were not preposterous enough, the absolute madman Rivers was air-dropped into the vortex with his tenor & soprano cannons. The results are just ridiculous & why these recordings are amongst the most precious & heavily rotated in my stash. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no further foray frenzy was created with Rivers after this tour. Thank the goddess that someone was recording & captured this brain scattering murrain so expertly & issued it in this cult vinyl trilogy