Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jason Bivins on Cecil Taylor

Jason Bivins on Cecil Taylor:
The astounding technique and energy of Taylor's language has influenced so many generations of players that it is now impossible to play cluster chords without the association. There is a flow and lasting intensity to his playing that seems to demand submission, insisting that you enter its atmosphere entirely or not at all. There is total speed and perfect stillness, as notes hang limpidly in air while also barreling through it. But while at first the weight and density of sound overwhelms you--a release, an orgasm--it becomes apparent over time that there is organization to it, not merely in the formalist sense (compositional kernels alive in the torrent) but a context and direction that gives the notes a solemnity of purpose, as if  each exhilarating glissando or thunderous mashed chord in the lower register were part of an invocation, some rite from a tradition hitherto unknown to the listening adept. (Jason Bivins, Spirits Rejoice!, 2015, pp. 184-185)

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