CECIL TAYLOR: ALL THE NOTES

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Cecil Taylor is the grand master of free jazz piano. All the Notes captures in breezy fashion the unconventional stance of this media-shy modern musical genius, regarded as one of the true giants of post-war music. Taylor is first seen musing over Santiago Calatrava’s fleecy architecture—a typical sign of the pianist’s famed eclectic interests, which extend from soloing, combo and small orchestra work to spoken word performance.

Seated at his beloved and battered piano in his Brooklyn brownstone the maestro holds court with frequent stentorian pronouncements on life, art and music while demonstrating his technique and views infusing his super clustered playing. Students at Mills College, where Taylor has a regular teaching gig, devise an avant-garde “free composition” under his generous tutelage. Taylor plays with his band at Yoshi’s in Oakland, NYC’s Lincoln Center, and the Iridium with his large ensemble Orchestra Humane.

Since the 1950’s Taylor has steadfastly repped jazz’s avant-garde, a fact reinforced by notable commentators Elvin Jones, Amiri Baraka, Nathaniel Mackey, and Al Young. The recording of the UCLA Royce Hall solo performance is an example of his astounding mastery of complex musical constructions. All the Notes is an intimate portrait of a consummate musician and sound thinker in triumphant maturity, bringing out Taylor’s nobility, devotion and belief in a truth that can only be found after a lifetime of invention.

> The Wire Review (.pdf)

> Gary Giddons Review (.pdf)