- Released: July 2, 1991
- Originally Released: 1991
- Label: Blue Note Records
The Wire - p.58
"[O]n Duke Ellington's 'Azure' he morphs elegantly between authentic Ellingtonian harmonisations and his own creative re-imaginings."
- 1.Bemsha Swing
- 2.Charge 'Em Blues
- 5.You'd Be So Nice To Come Home
- 6.Rick Kick Shaw
- 7.Sweet & Lovely
Personnel: Cecil Taylor (piano); Steve Lacy (soprano saxophone); Buell Niedlinger (bass); Dennis Charles (drums).
Producer: Tom Wilson.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded in Boston, Massachusetts in September 1956. Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
This is Cecil Taylor's first album, recorded by Tom Wilson (also Bob Dylan's first producer) in Boston in 1956. While the record works beautifully on its own terms, it also hints at the tremendous reserves of energy that would propel Taylor's whole career. And it's probably the only Cecil Taylor record you can have on your CD changer while entertaining guests--it has a light touch.
Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing" starts it off, with the earthy and grounded Dennis Charles on drums and solid Buell Neidlinger on bass. Taylor's lines are extensions of Monk-like concepts, but the tightly coiled melodies contain a barely withheld fury. Full-armed clusters signal exciting breakthroughs to come. Steve Lacy makes his debut on Taylor's "Charge 'em Blues," with a tone that recalls Paul Desmond. There are many highlights: Ellington's "Azure" is given an orchestral reading by Taylor; and on "Song," Lacy's tone is like a cool mountain stream. Cecil totally re-imagines Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." Instead of playing off the changes, he seems to be mining underlying personal meanings--reconfiguring the harmony, melody, even the words.