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Silent Tongues [Original recording remastered, Import]

Cecil Taylor Audio CD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pounding Pervasive Sonorous Piece 8 Sep 2000
By Matthew J. Archuleta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was turned on (if you will), to Cecil Taylor by the late, great Jazz pianist Don Pullen. Not by direct verbal communication but by the music and the inspiration. "New Beginnings" and "Ode To Life" by Pullen compelled me to seek out this recording by Cecil Taylor.
Taylor literally pounds the ivories as if melody and harmony are silent tongues driven to the recesses of the soundboard and he is seeking redemption by compelling them forth.
The pounding I speak of is beautiful, more beautiful than a drum solo because of the wide ranging notes. Extensive use of the pedal to curtail notes and frequent runs of block glissando are trademarks.
This is a live recording at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1974 and it is a clean, vibrant, resonating recording. This is great party music for it will start intelligent conversations by the raw emotive power and verve.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good starting point for Cecil 27 Feb 2000
By dig-it-the-most - Published on Amazon.com
Like another reviewer mentions, I have found nonjazz fans who like this performance. Many people like Cecil best in the solo piano setting, and there is no better place to start than here.
One thing very valuable is the last encore where he plays (in a song form) many of the themes he used in the performance.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Taylor 10 Mar 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I own about 50 CDs of Taylor, so I know what am talking about: This is one of my favorites, beside the (even better) piano solo record "Air Above Mountains" and the two - very different - trio records "In Florescence" ( with William Parker and Gregg Bendian) and "Looking (Berlin Version)" ( with William Parker and Tony Oxley: "The Feel Trio").
Unlike the trio records, the two piano solo albums are more easily accessible. They open up a complex world of beauty. Hard to explain because there is nothing that would compare to them. They are clear, rich, intense, dynamic, serious, intelligent and warm.
You need to like jazz music or modern classical music to appreciate them. If you do: They will be with you for a long, long time.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cecil's Solo Piano Breakthrough, and The Place To Start 28 Feb 2009
By Thomas Plotkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
To many, pianist Cecil Taylor is one of the most forbidding figure in contemporary music. Wrongly labeled the man who brought atonality to jazz (he is never atonal), whose pieces are Brucknerian in length, compared more often to the European classical modernists (Stockhausen, Boulez, Messiaen) than to his idols Monk, Ellington, and Powell, there is no middle ground with Taylor, his music either chews you up or spews you out.

Taylor's ouevre since 1963, when he broke his ties to countable time, under-10 minute songs lengths and conventional song structures, can be divided into two: Taylor with horns, and Taylor without horns. In a band context, several things can be an impediment to easy enjoyment: there are typically too many things going on at once, a kinds of simultanaeity of drums, piano, and horn(s) roaming freely in different directions; the horns often scream; Taylor's structures reveal themselves less readily, and in general there is often, but not always, more than the human ear can take in immediately.

CD's that foreground Taylor's piano playing, typically solo, but on also on the rare occasions where he plays in a bass-drums trio, or duets with a percussionist, is really the place to start. First of all, what seems like anarchy actually has sound structural underpinnings that more readily assert themselves solo. Cecil basically has a storehouse of little blue motifs, they can be fanfares, little abstracted bop lines, train blues, Ravel-esque ballads, all short and clipped; (many recur, slightly altered, through his work, giving the impression of one big meta-piece; he often begins by rotating them around, contrasting them against one another, and thenstarts to dissassemble them into soloistic flights of unbelieavable density and speed and dexterity, often, as on Silent Tongues, culminating in earthquake runs down the entire keyboard that sound like tectonic plates creating new continents by means of massive seismic events. (Ever heard a piano scream?) Taylor has his own private cosmology, alluded to in titles and poems, wherein the registers of the piano have some sort of astral significance (bass=abyss, high notes=heaven), and there is much jazz-like call and response between these note groupings, stabbing clusters (fists and elbows) in the bass, waterfall flights of fancy in the higher register. Eventually the celestial logic of the improvisational flight of fancy reassembles itself into the next motif, and the process starts all over again of thematic announcement and juxtaposition, deconstuction into solo improv, and re-assembly into the next set of motifs. He can do this for 20 minutes, or four straight hours. And just when you think your head is going explode, Cecil will cool things out with teasingly gorgeous balladry, for as little as you can stand.

He is a virtuoso -- Tatum is really the only jazz pianist who can push simultaneity so far. He famously once referred to the piano as 88 tuned drums, and that is how he approaches it, with a percussive glee, orchetstral hugeness, and unbelievable precision. He has called his style an imitation of a dancers leaps through space, unlike his European classical counterparts, this is physical music and not hemmed it by its procedures. He is not like other free-jazzers, who often sound as though they are willfully ditching their skills to make a thrilling point. Taylor has got the chops, and a harmonic imagination that really does at first impression conjure up Messiaen and Bartok.

But don't let that fool you. This is jazz. The emphasis on primordial percussive rhythms (albeit more multiplicitous than "swing"), blue notes, show-stopping improvisation, call-and-response: despite the fact that Cecil has abandoned traditional 32- ane 12-bar forms, all of his procedures come from jazz. The way his solos build to dramatic crescendos comes straight from Louis Armstrong's sure-fire show-biz sense of a climax (which Pops said he got from Caruso, of all people; maybe Louis should be blamed for looking to European classical music WHEN HE FIRST INVENTED JAZZ, and not Cecil, who is much-maligned-by cultural chauvinists whose last name is Marsalis). Listen carefully to Duke Ellington's often ignored accompaniment to his orchestra. He is banging really unlikely chords with a most un-European physicality (watch his shoulders and back move in old concert footage). Taylor has said again and again to people who bring up Darmstadt that these Ducal moves were his starting point, that lead in turn to Monk and Powell, and CT just brought it into the space age.

Taylor only began recording solo concerts almost 20 years into his recording career, in 1973; silent tongues (1974)was his third such recording in two years, and was a critical, and in avant-jazz terms, commercial breakthrough for him, winning both Downbeat polls and putting him a little closer to mainstream attention. [Interesting to note that the world's most acclaimed and popular solo piano improvising concertizer, Keith Jarrett, released his first extemporaneous piano recordings almost simultaneoulsy; with all due respect to Jarrett, Taylor makes The Koln Concert sound like Elton John minus the singing. Same hackneyed soul chords pounded over and over again -- I revere Jarrett's current trio and his Dewey Redman quartet, but his solo shows are nauseating and tasteless, he's the anti-Taylor) Due to the relative brevity of the pieces and clarity of the programming, this is a good place to start if you're curious to hear a man who approaches the piano the way Jackson Pollock approached a canvas. This is music set free from the bounds of space and time, full of color and dynamics at the heart of some maelstrom. Cecil Taylor is not for the faint of heart, but if you like Ornette Coleman, post-1965 Coltrane, or Agharta, you are depriving yourself of the most technically sophisticated "Noise" you will ever hear if you don't check out Cecil. He is the Founding Father, having cut his first sides in 1956 and nearing 80, he is still wearing out sidemen and audiences young enough to be his grandchildren. And Cecil's noise is a human noise, varied thrilling, and exalted.
In the tradition of Ives, he's making a racket to wake us up.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solo classic from a jazz genius 19 Feb 2000
By a.b. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is some wonderful music.
Piano as a full orchestra.
Melody as rhythm. Rhythm as melody.
Time and space that shatter and bend...in the same moment.
The soul of an artistic genius wrenched out by terrifying forces and put into sound, nervous and firm, ambiguous and precise, ugly and beautiful.
Great music from the inimitable Cecil Taylor.
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