Friday, April 6, 2018
R.I.P. Cecil Taylor
It happens to us all, and now it's happened to Cecil Taylor, whose music has been a major guiding force in my life since the 1970s. The only time I met him was in 1980 at Blues Alley in DC, after I'd just been transformed to a higher plane of being by two hour-long incendiary sets of his quartet with Jimmy Lyons, William Parker, and Rashid Bakr. God knows what he thought of the two rather thin goggle-eyed white guys (me and my brother Jeff), clutching albums for him to sign and basically slack-jawed and inarticulate (unlike him--he was gracious, polite if reserved, and majestic). I hope he at least could tell how much the music he'd just shared had meant to us. His music, that life spirit, has sustained me for it seems like forever, and has inspired my drumming as much if not more than any drummer. The sheer energy and love of life that pervaded his very being channeled through his fingers to anyone open to listen and receive. I'll miss that spirit deeply. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.