Forty-Four Thoughts for Cecil Taylor From Taylor Ho Bynum

Source: The Baffler.

I HAD CHOSEN EIGHTY-EIGHT as my starting point as there are eighty-eight-minutes of previously unreleased material on Cecil Taylor: The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert. And as there are eighty-eight keys on the piano, the instrument that Taylor played like no other artist before or since. That makes for a mystical coincidence. But in the end I discovered that eighty-eight was too many, and so I settled for half, forty-four. Structure, Taylor taught us, is meant to spark creativity—and you should be willing to abandon a structure when it no longer serves that purpose. Maybe kicking the proceedings off this way, with a discussion of poetics, will help set expectations, much like Taylor did at the beginning of many concerts, when he recited and chanted and danced his way on stage before sitting down to play.