Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cecil Taylor - 1973 - Indent

Cecil Taylor

01. Indent 2nd Part 21:00
02. Indent 2nd Part 23:00

Recorded live at the Antioch Theatre, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio on March 11, 1973.

Cecil Taylor: Piano

After nearly 20 years of critical neglect and hostility, pianist Cecil Taylor finally began to gain some approval in 1973. This solo concert, originally put out by Taylor on his own short-lived Unit Core label, gained wider recognition when Arista Freedom released it in 1977. On three lengthy improvisations, Taylor is quite stunning in his control of the piano, his wide range of percussive sound and his endurance. As is often true of Cecil Taylor's music, this recital is not for the faint-of-heart, but those with open ears will find it rewarding and certainly stimulating.

Indent and Silent Tongues are Cecil Taylor's best solo piano albums I think. I bought Indent as an LP back when Arista was still releasing avant-garde music. The album was a revelation. Taylor's music is highly structured, even though on first acquaintance it seems formless. His music is based on the gradual obsessive development of small motives, most of which are based on modal scales. These motives are played at a frenetic pace, which adds to the mistaken idea that this is "free" playing. Cecil can blow free with the best of them, but his music is always controlled and his chops are unequaled.
The solo work doesn't have the complexity of structure or instrumental timbre that you would find in Taylor's group work. But the solo stuff is indispensable, especially for pianists. If you are a jazz player, you cannot understand all of the music until you come to terms with this seminal innovator. Love him or hate him, Taylor is a force to be reckoned with.