Cecil Taylor

Remembrance

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Much of the music Cecil Taylor made during his month-long stay in Berlin was truly worthwhile and reinvigorating for him as an artist, some of it was just ho hum, a little of it was pretty much garbage, and a very small amount was so brilliant it ranked near the pinnacle of his long and well-documented career. This date with South African drummer Louis Moholo is one such performance. The aggressive approaches used by both men to intricately weave patterns and tapestries of sound in order to turn it back on itself forms a common bond, and here are exploited to the maximum effect. This duet cannot be characterized in terms of pure dynamic force, however, as Taylor has rarely sounded so musical as he does here, with his deft use of arpeggio versus chromatic form, his overhand approach to both register and counterpoint, and his elongated legato phrasing (which one would believe to be the very extension of his breath if didn't go on so long). And Moholo is not merely an accompanist. He is rhythm itself; carved from the side of a rock in Southern Africa, he understands that rhythm is not only pulse -- it is song as well. Hence, on the two duets here, Moholo moves Taylor to concentrate on the "singing" aspect of his pianism, using slippery brushstrokes against the rims, careening rim shots with a pair of 1-S sticks, and flummoxing stretches of the bass drum that shimmer and shake Taylor's skittering skeins of angular rhythmic notes with stunning precision. There are few recordings like this one, which inspires even as it amazes the listener.

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