Friday, April 06, 2018

Cecil Taylor, 1929-2018

Many advocates of jazz laud the polite sophistication that’s often associated with the form.  Not me.  I first embraced jazz as a disaffected teen in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  Artists who possessed the same sort of disruptive energy, outrageous personas and penchant for abrasiveness as cutting-edge rock and R&B musicians provided my entry point into the music.  Aggressive new releases by Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago thrilled me almost as much as the latest innovations by the likes of Prince, Talking Heads, Rick James, the Clash and the Gap Band.  Only later did I come to appreciate the uptown elegance of Duke Ellington and the subtle beauty of Bill Evans.  My primary allegiance will always be with the noisy daredevils of jazz.  Taylor died yesterday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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