Italy here I come

The Siena Jazz Workshop has me present my book Miles Ornette Cecil - Jazz Beyond Jazz (buy it for your Kindle!) Sunday, July 25 at 10 am (yes, in Siena, Italy). Can you suggest unmissable music in Tuscany (or Vetirbo through July 31? … [Read more...]

Saxes & percussion, Boulez & Symphony

Last weekend the World Saxophone Quartet and percussion ensemble M'Boom blasted 21st century conventions at Birdland -- this weekend Pierre Boulez conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through Bartok's two piano & percussion concerto and Stravinsky's "The Firebird" at Carnegie Hall. Listening opportunities in New York City cover a vast range. Duh, right? … [Read more...]

best review ever of Miles Ornette Cecil — Jazz Beyond Jazz

I'm humbled by writer-poet-performance artist Kirpal Gordon's appreciation of and insight into my book on the avant garde through the models of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor, in the just-posted NOLA issue of Big Bridge magazine. He's captured my intent and says I accomplished what I meant to. See if you agree. Subscribe by Email or RSS All JBJ posts … [Read more...]

Cecil and Miles in NYC (and India)

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. … [Read more...]

Cecil Taylor’s most recent recording, free mp3

Pianist Cecil Taylor, live at the Village Vanguard from July 2008 with drummer Tony Oxley, was recorded for a 2-lp vinyl album titled Ailanthus/Alitssima, and one cut of it is being offered as an MP3 for a limited time, free, by the website Word is only 475 copies of the lp will be sold -- details on that at Triple Point Records. Subscribe by Email | Subscribe by RSS | Follow on Twitter All JBJ posts | … [Read more...]

Cecil Taylor at 80, part two: A brief review

Pianist Cecil Taylor -- who yesterday I might have described as "preeminent" rather than "predominant" -- read his erudite, sound-sensitive poetry in the first half of his sold-out 80th birthday concert at Merkin Hall, then performed solo sonatas for approximately 50 minutes. An infant in the audience occasionally cooing along with Taylor's precise diction made it difficult to catch every word (much less all the meaning) of his texts, filled as they were with the recondite references to biology, mathematics, Egyptian and Mayan … [Read more...]

Cecil Taylor, unique and predominant, 80 years old

Cecil Taylor is the world's predominant pianist by virtue of his technique, concept and imagination, and one of 20th-21st Century music's magisterial modernists. A figure through whose challenges I investigate the avant garde in Miles Ornette Cecil -- Jazz Beyond Jazz, he turned 80 on March 25 (or maybe on the 15th), and tonight, Saturday, March 28, "Cecil Taylor Speaks Volumes" -- and presumably performs solo --  at Merkin Concert Hall.Taylor belongs to no school but his own yet has influenced and generated a legion of followers on piano and … [Read more...]

Jazz, secure, shrugs off “joke” threat

"We're doing everything we can to eliminate jazz from American culture," a promoter for Live Nation Artists, the world's dominant pop music production and marketing firm "joked" to Florida councilmen considering a proposed upcoming music festival. Jazz responds with a can't-be-bothered shrug. Too hip to be rattled by ignorant, idle, defensive -- and of course, revealing - threats, the greatest living musicians are basking in hard-earned recognition and producing inspiringly energized, not necessarily mellow music. Undeterred by Live Nation-like … [Read more...]