Cecil Taylor


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During his monthlong stay in Berlin, Cecil Taylor turned in a number of duet performances, at least two of them with drummers, this one and another on FMP with Tony Oxley. The most interesting thing about this pairing is the contrast in styles. Unlike an Oxley or a Han Bennink, Lovens is a drummer of nuance and often subtlety. His percussive methodology is based on mannerism and intricate execution to offer color, shape, and depth to whomever he's accompanying -- check his duets with Evan Parker. What this meant for Taylor, as becomes obvious within the first three or four minutes here, is that Taylor has to adjust his own playing for this to work. His opening volley is soft and elegant; Lovens reacts accordingly by playing softly but in triple time, creating a tension. Taylor then tries to force Lovens out into the open, tries to get him to match up in terms of the physicality of attack. It won't happen. Not because Lovens can't -- who can't beat on the drums fer crissakes -- it's that he won't and, musically, there's no reason to. By Lovens' articulation of speed and softness, Taylor realigns his own playing and, as a result, a spaciousness not normally present on his recordings appears in the middle of the mix. In that space is a percussive lyricism so beautiful and so pronounced that it's hard to believe everybody doesn't play this way. Regalia is a rare find for Taylor aficionados, and a true showcase of the genius two men can display when they are open to change musically and personally.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: Paul Lovens
feat: Paul Lovens
blue highlight denotes track pick