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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Cecil Taylor - Respiration: Live in Warsaw ‘68 (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2022)

By Gary Chapin

Respiration adds to the Cecil Taylor oeuvre a nearly perfect 43 minutes of Taylor’s solo power recorded at a beautiful level of quality. It comes from early-ish in his career—it’s always surprising to me, even though I know the history very well, how early Taylor was going this far away from the rails—when he had only just cemented his mature vision ( Conquistador! and Unit Structures were 1966). It feels as joyfully playful for him as it does for him as it does for us.

It’s hard to tell sometimes, when I listen to new (to me) Taylor, what qualities the recording brings and what frame I bring. What once (20 years ago) seemed wonderfully outrageous to me now feels like excellent storytelling. As I get older, Cecil Taylor gets better and better. Can that be right? Of course it can.


Colin Green said...

Indeed, a worthy addition to the Taylor discography, particularly as we only have two earlier recordings of his solo recitals: ‘Carmen with Rings’ from Rotterdam in 1967 – Taylor’s second ever solo concert – and ‘Praxis’ (Praxis, 1982) recorded in Bologna a fortnight before the Warsaw recital reviewed here (LP only). Both have been posted on Inconstant Sol, but the Bologna concert needs a re-up.

There’s an endlessly fascinating trajectory to the development of Taylor’s solo music, a brief sketch of which is provided in this review of mine from a few years ago: