Sunday, July 24, 2022

Cecil Taylor - With (Exit) To Student Studies Revisited (ezz-thetics records, 2022)

This collection provides a detailed look at pianist Cecil Taylor during the fall of 1966, combining an LP side long studio session with a lengthy concert recording. "With (Exit)" was recorded at Van Gelder studio in October, eventually to be released in 1968 as part of the Conquistador! album. Taylor was accompanied by Jimmy Lyons on alto saxophone, Bill Dixon on trumpet, Henry Grimes and Alan Silva on bass and Andrew Cyrille on drums. It is a potent performance, beginning with bowed bass and light feathering percussion. Cyrille is quietly aflame, propelling the band where Lyons blows mightily, with the band breathing together as one. Cyrille becomes louder, but retains his graceful movements, leading to a break for piano and bass. The drums return along side rapid fire percussive piano, with fluttering bowed bass leading to the conclusion. The remainder of the album consists of live concert from Paris in late November released in 1973 alternately as Student Studies or The Great Paris Concert. The lineup is Taylor on piano, Lyons on alto saxophone, Silva on bass and Cyrille on drums. Beginning with moody piano, swirling bowed bass and tart saxophone, the quartet creates hard hitting music, and Cecil is all over the piano, and the drums are driving forward, creating an atmosphere where the intensity is palpable. Lyons returns, gradually going into the fray over rumbling dark chords and bowed bass, leading to a complex improvisation that incorporates stuttering horn, cells of piano and arco bass where the music wheels and strikes off at unexpected angles in fascinating ways throughout the concert. Stark bowed bass and piano pick things up, with Silva's bass sweeping across the stage, like a brisk wind blowing through Taylor’s bracing downpour of notes. Lyons' saxophone enters and the music boils to a soaring collective improvisation with all the pistons firing. Changing pace abruptly, abstract percussion, bells, crashing piano chords and shakers create unexpected textures, somewhat reminiscent of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Cyrille is all in, creating in the flow even as the music takes a turn for the strange. Blasts of whistle and fast / hard drumming, why a whistle? Are they trolling the audience? The shrillness of the sound provides quite a shock, and perhaps that was the point. Returning to subtle bass and piano, clattering percussion and saxophone, the group creates nervous bounding music, which coalesces into an urgent full band blastoff of powerful music with tart toned saxophone, cascading piano and drums with bass anchoring the middle. Cruising trio improvisations just keeps coming in waves, exhausting but thrilling. Man, the combination of Taylor's piano and Cyrille's drums could just blot out the sun the sound is so huge. Eventually the band glides to a conclusion and with a final cymbal crash this extraordinary ride is over. This album has been remastered well and sounds great, the live album in particular has a visceral punch, and the package also includes a lengthy essay from Scottish jazz historian Brian Morton, placing the music in context. With (Exit) To Student Studies Revisited - Squidco

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