Monday, November 14, 2011

Cecil Taylor - The Tree Of Life (1998)

Cecil Taylor - The Tree Of Life (1998)
EAC rip | FLAC + CUE + LOG | Full Scans | FileSonic/FileServe
Genre ~ Avant-Garde, Modern Creative | Label ~ FMP Records

This "thank you" concert to the city of Berlin at the end of Cecil Taylor's six-month stay there in 1990 is a lovely, vibrant affair. In trademark fashion, "The Tree of Life" is one work, broken up into five "periods" or movements. The invocation in period one doesn't even feature a piano, just empty space and Taylor's voice creating a kind of spirit ground for him to play from. "Period 2" is where things actually begin. Taylor begins in ballad form; long eighths and ninths are extended into minor-key formations and distillations of mode and harmonic interval. There is a kind of distended harmony at work, with left and right hands playing opposite each other in perfect formation and rhythm: One idea, or theme, cancels out the previous one and sets up a new paradigm for consideration over the course of a 12 or 13 measures. One of the more interesting aspects of this nearly 45-minute selection is the influence of European classical music on Taylor, particularly Stockhausen, Berg, and Webern. There is an unwillingness to bend in favor of easier harmonic solutions while there are still sonorous possibilities in the music's present incarnation. In other words, the concern of expression becomes more about moving it toward itself as a system of improvisation rather than worrying about getting it "right." "Period 3" begins with the full integration of all Taylor's aesthetic elements as arsenal. Here, the long-held influences of Monk and Ellington come full on into the ghostly vocal expressions and "new music" theorem that have come to dominate Taylor's work. It's a beautiful battlefield, arrayed with color, nuance, and texture, but it is a war. Each element played to the hilt in an effort to speak what has never been conceived of let alone uttered or spoken. The final six minutes show Taylor's humor and warmth to the Europeans. Fats Waller and Don Pullen meet Mary Lou Williams and Sidney Bechet in concert with Taylor's own wide-open concert pianist grooving. The final pair of movements here, as brief as they are, show how finely Taylor sculpts his improvisations, letting edges hang perhaps, but at purposeful angles. In all, The Tree of Life is a fine showcase of the musician Cecil Taylor was in 1990. He was an artist at the crossroads of his own inspirations, looking to open new vistas both creatively and intellectually to audiences who had forgotten him or were encountering him for the first time. ~ AllMusic


1 Period 1 1:28
2 Period 2 44:28
3 Period 3 21:19
4 Period 4 3:41
5 Period 5 2:41

Thanks to the original uploader!