Cecil Taylor

The Hearth

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Recorded in 1988 as part of Cecil Taylor month in Berlin, this trio, which consists of Taylor, saxophonist Evan Parker, and cellist Tristan Honsinger, is an improviser's dream. Here are two personalities actually strong enough to rein Taylor in and bring the music up out of him instead of the force. Parker chose tenor for this gig, and he and Honsinger play to each other for the first couple of minutes, establishing a mutated kind of blues groove as Taylor sings in his tinny voice and claps in the background. Honsinger's bowed chord voicings offer Parker plenty to work off of tonally, and he does, turning the blues riff into a vamp on thirds, and then elongated harmonic structures that bring Taylor in on the piano after about ten minutes. Taylor enters with arpeggios blazing, but he is reined in by the architecture created by Honsinger in his phrasing. When Taylor is forced to play inside it, his creativity rages; he is full of colors, glissandi, dynamics, and a palette of textures that is dizzying -- so much so that Parker stops playing for a while. When he reenters, it is to slow things down and build upon some of the tonal structures Taylor has been tossing off within Honsinger's phraseology. Parker becomes a mode setter, creating a new layer of intervallic order from each set of overtones, where any player is allowed to push against its walls but not to break them. And from here, a language is established within the trio, making the musicians move into one another more closely, taking bits and pieces and growing ideas out into entire musical universes made by three -- not one plus one plus one. This is a devastatingly fine gig, and one of the best Taylor played the entire month he was in Berlin.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 01:01:31
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