Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come by Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, and Sunny Murray.
One of the key recordings of Cecil Taylor’s career, and one of the key documents of “Free Jazz”, the concerts recorded at Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark in November of 1962 are the first recorded expressions of the true vision Taylor would pursue (and continues to pursue). Astonishing and beautiful. To have been in the audience!
Jazz Advance by Cecil Taylor, Denis Charles, Steve Lacy, and Buell Neidlinger.
Continuing my investigation into Cecil Taylor’s early work, with his recorded debut from 1956. More interesting, than compelling, you can hear Taylor is still working out his concepts. And the rest of the band is trying to figure out, “If he’s playing THAT, what do we play?” The forms, at least in terms of time, are largely respected by Taylor, but the content of his solos often strays. Lacy is primarily playing Bebop runs over the changes. And the rhythm section is keeping time and walking the chords.
The harmony on the third stanza of this one is so close for a hymn, I had to go back and double check my work several times. But, yes, that is the way it is written in the hymnal. Don’t know what to tell you. I guess James Langran was a little odd for his time. Either that or it’s typos.
Born: November 10, 1835, St. Pancras, London, England.
Died: June 8, 1909, Tottenham, London, England.
A pupil of John Calkin, Langran was tutored as organist at St. James’s Church, Edmonton (London). He then served as organist at St. Michael’s, Wood Green (June 1856); Holy Trinity, Tottenham (1859); Parish Church, All Hallows, Tottenham (1870); and St. Paul’s, Tottenham (1870-1909). He was also Instructor to the Training College for Schoolmistresses, Tottenham, from its foundation around 1880, and received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oxford in 1884.
Cell Walk for Celeste by Cecil Taylor with Buell Neidlinger, Denis Charles, and Archie Shepp.
A year after the “World of Cecil Taylor” sessions and the band is a lot tighter. Shepp has matured and is incorporating Taylor’s right hand melodic expressions and rhythmic motifs into his playing. Unfortunately, Taylor is saddled with a painfully out of tune piano and sits out much of this session. Two of the tracks are Bass/Sax duets. The piano issue is particularly egregious on the relatively straight forward covers of the Mercer/Ellington tune Jumpin’ Punkins with a larger band including Billy Higgins, Clark Terry, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, and Charles Davis. Unless you’re curious what it would sound like to hear Taylor playing honky tonk piano, avoid those two tracks.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the presentation of Jesus at the temple is celebrated as is one of the twelve Great Feasts, and is sometimes called Hypapante (Ὑπαπαντή, lit., “Meeting” in Greek). In Western Christianity, the traditional name for the day is Candlemas, which is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. In some liturgical churches, Vespers (or Compline) on the Feast of the Presentation marks the end of the Epiphany season. In the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is a Principal Feast celebrated either on 2 February or on the Sunday between 28 January and 3 February. In the Catholic Church, the Presentation is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church, the episode was also reflected in the once-prevalent custom of churching new mothers forty days after the birth of a child.
I guess this is more of a “Minor Festival” sort of hymn.
The World of Cecil Taylor by Cecil Taylor, Buell Neidlinger, Sunny Murray, Denis Charles, and Archie Shepp.
Since I listened to alternate takes from the sessions for this album yesterday, I thought I should revisit the album proper today.
First, whomever picked the takes to use on the album was right. While the tracks on “Air” have their charms, these stand head and shoulders above. From Murray’s drum call to action to Cecil’s soft intro to track 2, these are invigorating, dramatic, and astounding.
Air by Cecil Taylor, Buell Neidlinger, Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp, and Denis Charles.
Recorded in 1960, this album is additional material from the sessions for, “The World of Cecil Taylor”. The first two tracks, a trio with Taylor, Neidlinger, and Murray, are finger tapping, steering wheel pounding, goodness. A 23 year old Archie Shepp joins on track 3, and at first seems a bit lost, deploying idiomatic Jazz and Blues expressions. As he settles in, and begins to find his place in the maelstrom, things get interesting. By Take 24 of “Air” he’s really getting it.
Louis Bourgeois is the one most responsible for the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, the source for the hymns of both the Reformed Church in England and the Pilgrims in America. In the original versions by Bourgeois, the music is monophonic, in accordance with the dictates of John Calvin, who disapproved not only of counterpoint but of any multiple parts; Bourgeois though did also provide four-part harmonizations, but they were reserved for singing and playing at home. Many of the four-part settings are syllabic and chordal, a style which has survived in many Protestant church services to the present day.
Of the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, some are reminiscent of secular chansons, others are directly borrowed from the Strasbourg Psalter; The remainder were composed by successively Guillaume Franc, Louis Bourgeois and Pierre Davantès. By far the most famous of Bourgeois’ compositions is the tune known as the Old 100th.
This one definitely seems like a “Saints” sort of hymn.
Like Old 100th, this tune is pretty great and lends itself to rhythmic and harmonic re-interpretation. I’d dedicate this version below to one of my “Saints”, Saint Sonny Rollins, for his tune, “St Thomas”.
Woo, finished with Trinity Sunday hymns! Though, uh, oops, Trinity Sunday was June 11, so I am almost a month late.
Well, as they say, better late than never.
In the early Church, no special Office or day was assigned for the Holy Trinity. When the Arian heresy was spreading, the Fathers prepared an Office with canticles, responses, a Preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays. In the Sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great (P.L., LXXVIII, 116) there are prayers and the Preface of the Trinity. The Micrologies (P.L., CLI, 1020), written during the pontificate of Gregory VII (Nilles, II, 460), call the Sunday after Pentecost a Dominica vacans, with no special Office, but add that in some places they recited the Office of the Holy Trinity composed by Bishop Stephen of Liège (903-20). By others the Office was said on the Sunday before Advent. Alexander II (1061–1073), refused a petition for a special feast on the plea, that such a feast was not customary in the Roman Church which daily honoured the Holy Trinity by the Gloria Patri, etc., but he did not forbid the celebration where it already existed. John XXII (1316–1334) ordered the feast for the entire Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost. A new Office had been made by the Franciscan John Peckham, Canon of Lyons, later Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1292). The feast ranked as a double of the second class but was raised to the dignity of a primary of the first class, 24 July 1911, by Pius X (Acta Ap. Sedis, III, 351). Since it was after the first great Pentecost that the doctrine of the Trinity was proclaimed to the world, the feast becomingly follows that of Pentecost.
In my opinion, there is nothing that sounds better on a bunch of clarinets than a good minor dirge.
Beautiful, just beautiful.
Both Bonar and Cruger had more than their share of beauty, tragedy, and hardship to capture in song.
Horatius Bonar [pronunciation?] (19 December 1808 – 31 July 1889), a contemporary and acquaintance of Robert Murray M’cheyne was a Scottish churchman and poet. He is principally remembered as a prodigious hymn-writer.
The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, he was born and educated in Edinburgh. He came from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents.
In 1853 Bonar earned the Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Aberdeen.
Bonar’s wife, Jane Catherine Bonar, died in 1876. He died 31 July 1889. They are buried together in the Canongate Kirkyard in the lair of Alexander Bonar, near the bottom of the eastern extension.
Johann Crüger (9 April 1598 – 23 February 1662) was a German composer of well-known hymns. He was also the editor of the most widely used Lutheran hymnal of the 17th century, Praxis pietatis melica.
In 1628, he married the widow of a city councilman. During the Thirty Years’ War, Crüger and his family endured many hardships including hunger. He fell ill with plague, and almost died of that disease, losing five children and his wife in 1636. In 1637, having recovered from the disease, he got married a second time, to the 17-year-old daughter of an innkeeper, with whom he had fourteen children, most of whom died at a young age. One of his daughters married the court painter Michael Conrad Hirt, who made a portrait of Crüger in 1663. Crüger died in Berlin.