New Single Pays Tribute to Cecil Taylor

Bay Area poet/singer Lisa B honors pioneering pianist with "Cecil Taylor: I Am an Orchestra"

Lisa B’s “Cecil Taylor: I Am an Orchestra” pays tribute to the late pianist.

Cecil Taylor, the pioneering free-jazz pianist, was 89 when he passed away last year on this day, April 5. In his memory, Bay Area poet and jazz singer Lisa B released a single, “Cecil Taylor: I Am an Orchestra,” a few days before the anniversary of his death.

The single pays homage to Taylor and his percussive, improvisational style with free-verse poems, occasional singing, and a diverse cast of musicians including Lisa B’s longtime collaborator, pianist Scott R. Looney.

Taylor’s passing touched Lisa B on both a musical and personal level; he had connected with her family when she was a child after he bought pictures from her photographer father. One of those photographs has now been used as cover artwork for the single.

The new track, out via Piece of Pie Records, is the first to be released from Lisa B’s forthcoming album, Reverberant: Poems & Music, due out in October. Stream, download or share “Cecil Taylor: I Am an Orchestra” on CDBaby, Spotify, AmazonGoogle Play or iTunes.

Read the JazzTimes obituary for Cecil Taylor here. Read pianist Myra Melford’s farewell tribute to him in JazzTimes here.

For more on Taylor’s life and music from JazzTimes, see below:

Nate Chinen reviews Taylor’s triumphant Whitney Museum collaboration with dancer Min Tanaka, from 2016.

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Nat Hentoff writes about Taylor in 2002.

Evan Haga reviews Taylor’s 2010 performance at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

A book excerpt, by Linda Dahl, on the historic Carnegie Hall concert featuring Taylor and Mary Lou Williams.