I was talking to my uncle the other day and he told me Cecil Taylor played in his town last month. This is shocking because my uncle lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which isn’t exactly a hotbed of jazz activity!
The Cecil Taylor Trio played at the Latino Cultural Center (!) and of course my uncle was there. He told me it was a great concert to a receptive audience.
I was reminded of the first (and only) time that I saw Cecil Taylor in concert. He was playing at UCLA’s Royce Hall in 1978. At that time, I had heard of him, but I hadn’t heard him. At 18, there were still a lot of artists I was trying to check out. It was a solo piano concert and the first ‘song’ was 50 minutes! I had never experienced anything like that! At the end of the two-hour concert, I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t dislike it, but I was lost.
Since then, I’ve learned it’s good to do a little homework before you go see an artist, especially someone like Cecil Taylor. I now have a lot of his recordings, from solo to big band, and can appreciate where he’s coming from. Unfortunately, he doesn’t come to the Los Angeles area very often, which is why I was only able to see him that one time (so far). It also makes his Albuquerque appearance all the more interesting.