Night Lights Classic Jazz

Jazz Advance: Early Cecil Taylor

Cecil TaylorPianist Cecil Taylor is one of the most influential pioneers of late-20th-century improvised music; as author John Litweiler says in his book The Freedom Principle, “One of the running threads in the story of today’s jazz is that so many of the advances first appeared in Cecil Taylor’s music.” Taylor’s musical universe, often perceived by mainstream jazz fans as a challenging, distant place, is thoroughly grounded in the music’s history; and his early influences ran from Dave Brubeck and Lennie Tristano to Horace Silver and Duke Ellington. We’ll hear selections from the 1950s albums that gave birth to Taylor’s career—Jazz Advance, Looking Ahead, Coltrane Time (Taylor’s only meeting on record with John Coltrane), and Love For Sale, along with a performance from the 1957 Newport Festival.

Music Heard On This Episode

I Love Paris
Cecil Taylor — Love for Sale (United Artists/Blue Notes, 1959)
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I Love Paris
Cecil Taylor — Love for Sale (United Artists/Blue Notes, 1959)
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Azure
Cecil Taylor — Jazz Advance (Transition/Blue Note, 1956)

Notes: Duke Ellington composition.

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Nona's Blues
Cecil Taylor — At Newport (Verve, 1957)

Notes: With Steve Lacy on soprano sax.

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Wallering
Cecil Taylor — Looking Ahead (Contemporary, 1958)

Notes: With Earl Griffith on vibes.

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Sweet and Lovely
Cecil Taylor — Jazz Advance (Transition/Blue Note, 1956)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Double Clutching
Cecil Taylor/John Coltrane — Coltrane Time (United Artists/Blue Note, 1958)

Notes: With Kenny Dorham on trumpet.

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Toll
Cecil Taylor — Looking Ahead (Contemporary, 1958)
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Love for Sale
Cecil Taylor — Love for Sale (United Artists/Blue Note, 1959)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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