Location: Floor Five, Neil Bluhm Family Galleries
On the closing weekend of his retrospective and festival, renowned musician Cecil Taylor returns for a second performance. He is accompanied by Tony Oxley, Harri Sjöström, Okkyung Lee, and Jackson Krall.
Doors open at 7:30 pm. Tickets are required ($50 adults; $45 members, seniors, students).
Cecil Taylor (b. 1929) is a towering, sometimes divisive figure within twentieth-century music. In the early 1960s, with fellow maverick artists Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and others, he revolutionized jazz by extending bebop into a radical terrain dubbed the "New Thing" or "free jazz"—the latter a term with political as well as aesthetic connotations given the social changes underway at the time in America. For Taylor, freedom meant a deep synthesis of the modern composers such as Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky that he encountered during his studies at the New England Conservatory of Music with the nuanced and original piano innovations of Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Bud Powell, and Duke Ellington, elaborated into an uncharted territory.
Taylor has extended the potential of jazz as an art form to include an exceptionally wide range of intellectual, conceptual, and spiritual expressions. The sheer speed and percussive attack of his piano playing, its extreme density of both ideas and notes, and his complete unlocking of pitch, harmony, rhythm, and tempo to exploit their vast multiplicities has for more than fifty years left some listeners baffled or overwhelmed and others ecstatically transfixed. Whether he is playing solo piano or leading one of his bands—which he often calls "Units" to underscore the structural, almost architectural nature of their improvisations—Taylor has remained an uncompromising musical innovator of the highest order. For him, music exists in a continuum that extends to all art forms, and his work is deeply informed by the artists he loves, whether musicians, dancers, architects, or poets. His expansive view of music has led him to write poetry himself (though rarely to publish it), and to branch out into dance and theater through his own performances and by working with a remarkably broad range of collaborators including The Living Theater, Dianne McIntyre, Adrienne Kennedy, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Heather Watts, and Min Tanaka.