Friday, April 6, 2018

Cecil Taylor (1929–2018)

The pianist and composer Cecil Taylor has died at the age of eighty-nine. In the absence of an obituary, here is an appreciation from his fellow pianist and composer Ethan Iverson.

When I think of Taylor’s music, I think of words from David Bowie’s “Modern Love”: I try. I try. I recognize that a genius is at work and want to engage what’s happening. Sometimes I can. Two performances I’ve listened to again and again: the two versions of “After All” on the 1974 concert recording Silent Tongues (Arista). (It’s a Taylor composition, not Billy Strayhorn’s composition of the same name.) Start with the short encore. Then try the longer version. See what you hear.


The New York Times has an obituary.

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