31 Facts About Cecil Taylor


Cecil Percival Taylor was an American pianist and poet.


Cecil Taylor's music is characterized by an energetic, physical approach, resulting in complex improvisation often involving tone clusters and intricate polyrhythms.


Cecil Taylor has been referred to as being "like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings".


Cecil Percival Taylor was born on March 25,1929, in Long Island City, Queens, and raised in Corona, Queens.


Cecil Taylor began playing piano at age six and went on to study at the New York College of Music and New England Conservatory in Boston.


At the New England Conservatory, Cecil Taylor majored in composition and arranging.


In 1955, Cecil Taylor moved back to New York City from Boston.

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Cecil Taylor formed a quartet with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, bassist Buell Neidlinger, and drummer Dennis Charles.


Cecil Taylor's first recording, Jazz Advance, featured Lacy and was released in 1956.


Cecil Taylor collaborated with saxophonist John Coltrane in 1958 on Stereo Drive, now available as Coltrane Time.


Unlike others at the time, Cecil Taylor utilized virtuosic techniques and made swift stylistic shifts from phrase to phrase.


Cecil Taylor began to perform solo concerts in the latter half of the 1960s.


Two days earlier, Cecil Taylor had played the same composition in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.


Cecil Taylor began to garner critical and popular acclaim, playing for Jimmy Carter on the White House Lawn, lecturing as an artist-in-residence at universities, and eventually being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1991.


In 1976, Cecil Taylor directed a production of Adrienne Kennedy's A Rat's Mass at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in the East Village of Manhattan.


Cecil Taylor's production combined the original script with a chorus of orchestrated voices used as instruments.


Cecil Taylor performed with larger ensembles and big band projects.


Cecil Taylor's extended residence in Berlin in 1988 was documented by the German label FMP, resulting in a box set of performances in duet and trio with a large number of European free improvisors, including Oxley, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, Tristan Honsinger, Louis Moholo, and Paul Lovens.


Cecil Taylor continued to perform for capacity audiences around the world with live concerts, usually playing his favored instrument, a Bosendorfer piano featuring nine extra lower-register keys.


Cecil Taylor was featured in a 1981 documentary film entitled Imagine the Sound, in which he discusses and performs his music, poetry, and dance.


The Cecil Taylor Trio was nominated for the same at the Highline Ballroom in 2009.


Cecil Taylor was described as "An Innovative Jazz Musician Who Has Fully Explored the Possibilities of Piano Improvisation".


In 2008, Cecil Taylor performed with Pauline Oliveros at the Curtis R Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Cecil Taylor's mother, who died while he was young, was a dancer and played the piano and violin.


Cecil Taylor was a poet, and cited Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and Amiri Baraka as major influences.

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Cecil Taylor often integrated his poems into his musical performances, and they frequently appear in the liner notes of his albums.


The album Chinampas, released by Leo Records in 1987, is a recording of Cecil Taylor reciting several of his poems while accompanying himself on percussion.


In 1964, Cecil Taylor co-founded the Jazz Composers Guild to enhance opportunities for avant-garde jazz musicians.


In 1982, jazz critic Stanley Crouch wrote that Cecil Taylor was gay, prompting an angry response.


Cecil Taylor died at his Brooklyn residence on April 5,2018, at the age of 89.


At the time of his death, Cecil Taylor was working on an autobiography and future concerts, among other projects.