on cecil taylor

Some well-known impresarios, arbiters of musical taste, and wizards of the music market have remained unmoved. Traditionally, the jazz artist has had to depend on these people for the privilege of making it into a circuslike arena of notoriety, commercial gimmickry, and artistic repression by contract. A great many other beloved musicians of genius have paid and are paying with their lives to find some little sustenance within that chaos. Cecil Taylor’s longstanding refusal to surrender professional self-determination inevitably confounds the mercenaries in the midst of their agendas.

If you approach this music with the archaeologist’s shovel, you will find yourself among temple ruins. Should you, however, journey into this music with your gift of hearing, you will discover the enduring promise of an inscription carved in stone, addressed to the sun: “Come, you will see your temple. When you rise above the horizon, it blazes gold in your face.”

Ramsey Ameen, sleeve notes to The Cecil Taylor Unit

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