The liner notes to Cecil Taylor’s solo piano album Indent include the poem pictured above. Cecil Taylor’s early bebop work includes recordings with John Coltrane released eventually in album form. But even the ground-breaking context of bebop would prove too restrictive for Taylor. Works like the Great Paris Concert take the instrumentation of a bebop quartet to perform what sounds like almost completely free and unstructured music.
But, one suspects that Taylor has his own ideas of structure, and that jazz merely served as a starting point. The lack of any recognizable song forms and the energetic chaos erupting in waves from Cecil’s piano will most likely appeal only to the most adventurous listeners. We recommend listening without preconceptions or expectations, letting the sound wash over you like a symphony.
Cecil Taylor recorded this performance in March, 1973, at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio according to the liner notes. If we recall correctly, he had a teaching or fellowship position there, though we can’t find much information on that now.
When we discovered this album in the early 1990s as jazz DJs at a college radio station, this amused us. Our grandmother had taken us to Yellow Springs during summers in the mid 1980s when we would visit her. It had many new age bookstores and art, a kind of hippie haven in an otherwise conservative midwestern state. You could buy crystals and meditation music in mom-and-pop shops. But what was it like when Taylor was there in 1973, recording this concert, less than two months after we were born? We can only imagine.
– From Indent by Cecil Taylor; Freedom, 1977.