2017-07-31 School Days

School Days by Steve Lacy, Roswell Rudd, Henry Grimes, and Denis Charles.

Thelonious Monk legendarily once berated someone accompanying him who was not working up to Monk’s standards by saying, “Play that thing or throw it away!” No one here could be accused of not playing. Grimes is especially numinous, with nimble runs up and down the length of his bass’ neck. Outstanding.

#SteveLacy #RoswellRudd #HenryGrimes #DenisCharles #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-07-13 Jazz Advance

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.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #DenisCharles #SteveLacy #BuellNeidlinger

2017-07-12 Cell Walk for Celeste

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.

#CecilTaylor #BuellNeidlinger #DenisCharles #ArchieShepp #BillyHiggins #ClarkTerry #RoswellRudd #SteveLacy #CharlesDavis #CellWallkForCeleste

2017-07-11 The World of Cecil Taylor

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.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #BuellNeidlinger #SunnyMurray #DenisCharles #ArchieShepp #TheWorldOfCecilTaylor

2017-07-10 Air

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.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #BuellNeidlinger #SunnyMurray #ArchieShepp #DenisCharles #Air