Conquistador [Bonus Track]

Conquistador [Bonus Track]

by Cecil TaylorCecil Taylor


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This recording from 1966 is the very album that should have made Cecil Taylor the superstar of free jazz. Instead, despite the fact that it was received well by many critics and those interested in the new music, it was the last time he would record for seven years. Given the wondrous ensemble he assembled for this date -- Jimmy Lyons, alto; bassists Alan Silva and Henry Grimes; trumpeter Bill Dixon; Andrew Cyrille, drums -- this is inexplicable. It should have made him a superstar. Taylor's understanding of the bottom end in improvised music has never been celebrated properly and never has it been so clearly on display as it is here. The interplay between the two bassists is nothing short of revelatory. Engaged in free counterpoint, they not only dovetail one another's voices and phases but also literally anticipate in legato and pizzicato how certain modes of harmonic inquiry are to flow. Taylor sets the pace but gives license to his rhythm section, allowing them opportunities for color, tension, and dynamic inside his propulsion of notes and chord voicings. Dixon and Lyons become the prime movers of melodic thought in this ensemble, not in the usual front-line manner, but in terms of phraseology and mood. Where the blues are called into play about two minutes into "With (Exit)," it is the horn players who give Taylor the groundswell he needs for his first solo. Likewise, they offer hints and suggestions as to which harmonic notion to expound upon in the title track. The depth of communication is electrifying throughout. The 2004 Rudy Van Gelder edition features marginally improved sound, but the real kicker is the inclusion of an alternate version of "With (Exit)" that clocks in a full two minutes shorter than the album one and gets downright scary in the exchange between Taylor and the bass players about halfway through. This is a necessary addition to any free jazz shelf.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/23/2004
Label: Blue Note Records
UPC: 0724359084022
catalogNumber: 90840

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