Saturday, January 30, 2021

Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley - Being Astral and All Registers / Power Of Two (Discus Music, 2020)

The legendary pianist Cecil Taylor’s studio output started to wane as the new millennium dawned. However, his concert schedule remained active, especially in the duo context with the veteran British drummer Tony Oxley. This album was recorded at the the Ulrichsberg Jazz Festival in Austria in 2002, with two lengthy duo improvisations that are very compelling. The first track, the half hour long “Being Astral and All Registers”  is an explosive and enlightening piece of work. Playing with great speed and alacrity, Taylor is all over the keyboard, building waves of complex sound. His music may be fast and free, but it remains logical, and regardless how complex the music becomes, Oxley is with him every step of the way. He meets Taylor’s idiosyncratic and original way of playing with his own, completing the pianist’s strong percussive technique with an open minded sensibility which makes them ideal partners. The second and final track, “Power of Two” takes the music in a different direction with the musicians using shifts in tone and dynamics to guide the sound into unexpected places. Taylor had long been a patron and participant in other art forms such as poetry and dance, and the progress of the music on this track bares the influence of this, as the music opens up with a sense of breath and flows gracefully to it's conclusion. This was a very enjoyable concert that was played with grace and vigor. Sound quality is excellent and you can hear in detail the intricate level of cooperation between Taylor and Oxley. Being Astral & All Registers: Power Of Two -

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