Cecil Taylor Quintet - "Incarnation"
[FMP, www.free-music-production.de]

To talk about a new Cecil Taylor record is like singing about your lunch. You know it will all come out sounding silly in the end, but you do your best to put something that makes some sense on paper. This quartet date, recorded at 1999's Total Music Meeting in Berlin is the first meeting in a quarter century to feature Taylor and percussionist-extraordinaire Andrew Cyrille. Many of you will recall the stunning results that this duo produced in 1964 on "Unit Structures". I'm glad to say, these are not replicated here, they are surpassed. The 80-minute long session, begins with "Focus". As you settle in to the trio musings of Franky Douglas' oddly friendly guitar pickings, along with gentle tympani rhythms set forward by Andrew Cyrille, all of a sudden you're accosted with Tristan Honsinger's cello musings. This trio only gets more ferocious as the Master joins them on the piano. First a few rolls of the left hand, then a full-on attack of both hands, and before you know it, all keys of his weapon are fully utilized. Over the course of the remaining CD, the quartet rolls between the energetic peaks, and the serene valleys of the Cecil Taylor ritual. It's rather interesting to point out that Andrew Cyrille is only given "special guest" status in the credits, but then again, after such a long separation from the Master, is it any wonder? "Incarnation" is one of the better Cecil Taylor Berlin sessions I'd heard in the last decade or so. For its' choice of instrumentation alone, "Incarnation" gets 11 out of 10 stars. Though I feel Taylor is somewhat more serene here than on certain other dates [such as "Nailed" from a few years before], there is no way that he can really settle into a "serene" mode for too long. As usual, this is yet another brilliant record from the Master. Bravo!

Tom Sekowski


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+ Music Genera
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