Taylor, the pianist beyond genre (age: 80) and still-groundbreaking music of Davis, the trumpeter/conceptualist (dead 18 years) are at major Manhattan venues this week, continuing to provoke and gratify. Cecil Taylor performs at the Blue Note tonight (Thursday, May 28) while “Miles From India,” mixing veterans of Davis’ electric bands with South Asian improvisers, has a four-night stand at Iridium. And last Monday, Davis’ prophetic On The Corner was revisited at Merkin Concert Hall.
Frequent readers of this blog know I’m fascinated (not obsessed) with Davis, Taylor and Ornette Coleman, who (as I write in my book published in 2008) opened myriad possibilities for jazz and other forms of music by leaving conventions behind. They didn’t do this alone: all three musicians created their best-known works with the help of imaginative collaborators, and generations of players have taken up their directions, continuing their explorations.