Monday, March 11, 2019

Cecil Taylor - Silent Tongues (Org Music, 2019)

Silent Tongues is one of Cecil Taylor's most compelling albums, which is saying something considering his wide ranging and voluminous discography. A tremendously well received live solo piano recording from the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1974 drew widespread critical acclaim, including Downbeat's album of the year the following year. This album release has gone through several iterations from Arista Freedom to 1201 Music, and this particular one is a vinyl version remastered at Infrasonic Mastering and pressed on audiophile-grade vinyl at Pallas Group in Germany. The release was previously available as Vinyl Me, Please exclusive via ORG Music. The music itself is an explosive five section suite along with two encores. Listening to this recording is best if the listener gives themselves over to it, as the music comes in waves of complex chords and lightning fast runs of notes. Taylor's famous notion of the piano as a set of "eighty-eight tuned drums" can really be heard on this recording which is clear and vibrant with a you-are-there kind of feeling that can be nearly overwhelming at times. While Taylor played with many ensembles ranging from duet settings to the largest big bands, it is his solo work that has always has the emotional resonance for me with works like For Olim, Live in Willisau and others developed a lifelong thread of continuous exploration on piano. Some of the more accessible sections of the suite will be mixed with bracing and cascading cells of freely improvised piano, and the dynamic nature of these yin and yang opposites provide the locomotion that drives the music relentlessly forward, whether this can be considered spontaneously composing, or freely improvising Taylor is using the length and breadth of the instrument to create thunderous and vibrant waves of sound that is full of energy and boundless enthusiasm. His skill and technique are at the highest level, but he carries the listener with him and the music remains completely original throughout the album, with a sense of connected events which seems to fuel the sound, texture, and shading of his music. Taylor is a conduit for the sound and amazing technique to flow, where he refines and channels his music as unique concept and a language. The two encores are met with rousing and rapturous applause, as short cells of improvisation, they are the icing on the cake the and a perfect ending to a recording of rare skill and energy that stands as one for the ages, a recording of great significance and value. Silent Tongues -

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