Cecil Taylor

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Dexter Gordon hangs out with Cecil Taylor and an unidentified man on the White House lawn on June 18, 1978.
By Karl Esch
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Cecil Taylor
By Frank Stewart
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Elvin Jones with Cecil Taylor, June 2000
By John Abbott
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Jimmy Carter and Cecil Taylor
By Karl Esch
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Cecil Taylor
By Michael Wilderman
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Cecil Taylor
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Cecil Taylor

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When he emerged during the mid-to-late 1950s, pianist Cecil Taylor was considered perhaps the most radical improviser in jazz. More than a half-century later, that is still true. His atonal improvisations, which are full of remarkable energy and endurance, tone clusters and completely original ideas, have been a major influence on the jazz avant-garde and free jazz movements for decades. Born in New York City in 1929, he began piano lessons when he was 6. Taylor attended the New York College of Music and the New England Conservatory. Influenced early on by Duke Ellington’s percussiveness and Dave Brubeck, Taylor worked with Johnny Hodges and Hot Lips Page in the early 1950s. In the mid-1950s he formed a quartet with soprano-saxophonist Steve Lacy, bassist Buell Neidlinger and drummer Dennis Charles with which he made his recording debut, performed at the Five Spot Café in 1956 for six weeks, and appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival.

However, work was otherwise very scarce, and even though some of the band’s repertoire was standards, their interpretations were considered too modern and abrasive for the time period. Taylor recorded one album with John Coltrane and in 1960 (under Neidlinger’s name) recorded extensively for Candid; by then the group had Archie Shepp in Lacy’s place on tenor. In 1962 the Cecil Taylor Unit featured altoist Jimmy Lyons (who was with Taylor until his death in 1986) and drummer Sunny Murray. Six months in Europe were successful but work in the U.S. remained rare. Taylor recorded two notable albums for Blue Note but it was not until the 1970s that he began to receive recognition for his innovative ideas. Since then he has taught at several colleges, been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (in 1973) and a MacArthur Fellowship (1991), recorded prolifically as a leader in settings ranging from solos and duets to big bands, and performed before amazed audiences all over the world.

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Artist’s website

http://www.ceciltaylor-art.com/

Articles on Cecil Taylor

11/11/13    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Cecil Taylor Awarded Japan’s Kyoto Prize

07/27/09    Concerts    By Michael J. West

Umbria Jazz '09

05/11/09    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Cecil Taylor Returning to Blue Note May 28th

03/27/09    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Merkin Concert Hall Announces Spring Jazz Series

March 2009    Albums    By Steve Greenlee

The Dance Project
Cecil Taylor/William Parker/Masashi Harada

January/February 2009    The Gig    By Nate Chinen

Back to the Future: 2008 in Gigs

October 2008    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Summer Nights

September 2008    Books    By George Kanzler

Miles, Ornette, Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel

02/15/08    Concerts    By Josef Woodard

Portland Jazz Festival

03/10/07    Concerts    By Bill Milkowski

John Zorn and Cecil Taylor at Lincoln Center

10/23/06    Concerts    By Scott Verrastro

Cecil Taylor and Henry Grimes Meet Again

September 2005    Features    By

50 LPs from 35 Years of JazzTimes, Part I

April 2005    Countercurrents    By Chris Kelsey

All the Notes
Cecil Taylor

April 2005    Countercurrents    By Chris Kelsey

All the Notes
Cecil Taylor

March 2005    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Last Year's CD Shelf

January/February 2005    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Post-Jazz TV

04/01/04    Concerts    By John Litweiler

Cecil Taylor's 75th Birthday Celebration

11/11/03    Concerts    By Josef Woodard

JazzFest Berlin 2003

June 2003    Albums    By John Litweiler

Chicago Tenor Duets
Evan Parker/Joe McPhee

June 2003    Features    By Nate Chinen

George Wein: A Great Day in Washington

January/February 2003    Albums    By Bill Shoemaker

Cecil Taylor Bill Dixon Tony Oxley
Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley

January/February 2003    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

I Remember Chirpy

September 2002    Features    By David H. Krasnow

Bang on a Can: When New Music & Jazz Collide

05/22/02    Concerts    By Josef Woodard

Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville 2002

March 2002    Albums    By Bill Bennett

Complicite
Paul Plimley/John Oswald/Marilyn Crispell/Cecil Taylor

January/February 2002    Final Chorus    By Nat Hentoff

Cecil Taylor: "It's about magic, and capturing spirits."

June 2000    Albums    By Bill Shoemaker

Melancholy
Cecil Taylor Workshop Ensemble

October 1999    Albums    By Duck Baker

Qu'a Yuba Live at the Iridium Vol. 2
Cecil Taylor Quartet

October 1999    Albums    By Duck Baker

Qu'a Yuba Live at the Iridium Vol. 2
Cecil Taylor Quartet

July/August 1999    Albums    By Josef Woodard

Momentum Space
Dewey Redman/Cecil Taylor/Elvin Jones

April 1999    Albums    By Bill Shoemaker

Live in Greewich Village: Complete Impulse Recordings
Albert Ayler

December 1998    Albums    By Harvey Pekar

The Tree of Life
Cecil Taylor

December 1998    Albums    By Harvey Pekar

Qu'a: Live at the Irridium Vol. 1
Cecil Taylor

December 1998    Photos    By Lee Tanner

Indelible Images 5

May 1998    Albums    By Duck Baker

Trance
Cecil Taylor

September 1997    Albums    By Bill Shoemaker

Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come
Cecil Taylor

September 1997    Features    By Mike Joyce

Who's overrated? Who's Underrated?

Albums

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Trance

Black Lion
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Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come

Revenant
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Qu'a: Live at the Irridium Vol. 1

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The Tree of Life

FMP/Free Music Production
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Qu'a Yuba Live at the Iridium Vol. 2

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Melancholy

FMP/Free Music Production

It Is In the Brewing Luminous

hatOLOGY
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Cecil Taylor Bill Dixon Tony Oxley

VICTO
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2 Ts for a Lovely T

Codanza

The Owner of the River Bank

Enja/Justin Time
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Momentum Space

Verve
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All the Notes

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Complicite

VICTO
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Nailed

FMP/Free Music Production
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At Newport

Verve
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Mixed

Impulse!
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The Dance Project

FMP/Free Music Production
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