Cecil Taylor Nefertiti - The Beautiful One Has Come



Trance - 9:07
Call -
Lena -
D Trad That's What -
What's New? -
Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come -
Lena (Second Version) -
Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come -


Cecil Taylor
Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come

Cecil Taylor was a key player in the evolution of free jazz (then dubbed the “New Thing”), though he caused quite a bit of controversy as he was one of its most radical proponents. The pianist’s approach incorporated dense atonal clusters, extensive use of pedal to add further distortion, lightening-like runs, while occasionally hinting at his roots in bop and swing. In spite of sporadic recording opportunities from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, Taylor stuck to his guns and refused to compromise, while attracting a loyal following that has grown over the decades. The challenge of Taylor’s approach has made it difficult for him to find compatible sidemen, so he has often focused on solo piano during much of his career. These early recordings from the Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen, made between 1962 and 1965, feature Taylor with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons and drummer Sunny Murray.

With one exception, the music from this double LP set consists of Taylor’s originals. “D Trad That’s What” is a furious, atonal cauldron, with Taylor’s rapid-fire improvisation bracketed by Lyons’ sizzling alto, both powered by Sunny Murray’s intense drums. Bob Haggart’s “What’s New” might have been unrecognizable to its composer, as Taylor reshapes it into his world, only keeping the barest framework of its original chord progression in the background. The overpowering “Trance” is a turbulent affair with Taylor’s tense, swirling clusters and Murray’s loose drumming pushing Lyons into a frenzy. “Call” deceptively begins as if it is going to be a more conventional ballad, though it quickly morphs into a quirky, ominous piece, with Taylor’s eerie piano resembling the soundtrack to a nightmare. There are two versions of “Lena.” The shorter rendition features Lyons sounding playing free-flowing lines reminiscent of his contemporary Eric Dolphy. The longer performance proves to be more compelling, with Lyons hint ng at his bop roots and even showing a sense of humor by inserting a few brief quotes from familiar songs. There are also two versions of “Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come,” which are very similar but no less stimulating. Even decades after this music was introduced, it can still be overwhelming for those not familiar with Cecil Taylor’s groundbreaking style.

Cecil Taylor-piano
Jimmy Lyons-alto saxophone
Sunny Murray-drums

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