2 Blues for Cecil



The tantalizing trio of Andrew CyrilleWilliam Parker and Enrico Rava came together last year to record a salute to an artist whose impact on each of them proved profound. The resulting 2 Blues for Cecil (TUM), while containing no piano, upholds the standards and principles of the late Cecil Taylor, finding deep expression within a set of composed and improvised music. Drummer Cyrille and bassist Parker had respectively played with the Cecil Taylor Unit for more than a decade, Cyrille starting in 1964 and Parker in 1980, the former recording on landmark albums Unit Structures and Conquistador! Italian trumpeter Rava had crossed paths with the idiosyncratic pianist in the 1960s, but didn’t perform with him until the 1980s as a member of his Orchestra of Two Continents and European Orchestra. Suffice to say, each participant is more than qualified to plumb the depths of Taylor’s musical ideas on a set of music that doesn’t eschew beauty or nuance to merely explore the crashing onrush of notes often associated with him. The lovely “Overboard” is a case in point. Inspired by Ornette Coleman, Rava originally composed the piece for his duo with pianist Enrico Pieranunzi in 1993, and he’s explored it on record several times since. Here, the trumpeter opens the piece with a lonely, almost elegiac solo, before Parker’s limber pizzicato and Cyrille’s rolling thunder enter the picture. The conversation between bass and drums becomes engrossing, and Cyrille’s unflashy mastery once again emerges in a brief solo sequence. None of the players seeks to dominate, preferring communication among equals to individual feats of brio. “Every performer has this mandate to ‘sing,’” Ben Young writes in the liner notes, limning Taylor’s philosophy to its essence. “Play it like you mean it. Also, mean it. To sing on the instrument is to surpass the basic level of sound production: Squeeze out an expression rater than calculating each note.”

Purchase Album:

The Authoritative Voice in Jazz