Evan Parker

Nailed (CT: The Quartet)

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A super-session in theory, this one-off gig was recorded in Berlin in 1990 during another of Cecil Taylor's extended stays. According to the liner notes, this gig was tense from the start because of some ill will between some of the band's members, hence the title of the album. Whatever. The two tracks that comprise this set are full of the explosive, full-bore playing each of this quartet's members is well-known for. It's easy to believe there is tension here, the playing from the outset starts at furious and gets wilder. But what's more interesting is that given Taylor's gigantic stature among musicians, even the three he's playing with, he doesn't dominate the proceedings. This is group improvisation the way it's supposed to be, with ideas being tossed into the fire from every angle. Some are picked up and extrapolated upon; others are left smoldering in the ashes. When it is time for Taylor to solo, none of the others stay out of the mix completely, not even Parker. Guy's bowed bass accompanies Taylor through each theme and phrase, each color and mode change until Taylor cedes the floor. Yes, it is all about muscle: all competition, all struggle, all music. As in the bebop days of old, this is a cutting contest in the purest sense of that word. Everybody bleeds here. At times, the playing is so intense the listener just wants to hate everyone on the bandstand, at others, so forceful (s)he is beaten into submission, and still at others, nothing but a resounding YEAH! Throughout the house or car will do. Sizing up the individual contributions to this mass of aural mayhem is fruitless. This is a group who insists on being individuals in a collective setting and, therefore, the listening level is so high -- so as not to miss any gauntlet laid down -- the attention to execution and imagination can't help but be top-notch. So, in essence, this is a super-session, but not one in the usual sense. It is among the finest of all the recordings released under Taylor's name from either of his Berlin periods, and, for the others, it charts with their best playing anywhere. This is group improvisation at its angriest, freest, and truest.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
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