Cecil Taylor, who died last Thursday at the age of 89, invented a singular school of the jazz avant-garde that never wavered in its audacity, even as the pianist garnered cultural acceptance and institutional accolades over his marathon career. He also gained the respect and admiration of generations of musicians, who saw him as a model of artistic integrity and commitment. Collected here by Michael J. West are five of their testimonials.
Cecil hired me for his big band around 1982. The thing that influenced me the most was the rehearsals. The performance is over in an hour or two, but Cecil was doing these six-hour rehearsals to get there.