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Album Review

It is hard to believe that this concert was a first for this trio. Programmed at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, the premiere headlined the 2002 edition of the event. Both organizers and spectators were probably hoping for something more impressive and jaw-dropping. Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, and Tony Oxley gave a short performance (50 minutes, all included on this untitled CD), a good one — classy and correct — but there was no revelation that evening. Critics who usually complain that Taylor sounds like he is paid by the note might point out that this time he lacked stamina or involvement (there's no pleasing critics). The fact is that both Taylor and Oxley sound like they open up their playing, deliberately refraining from engaging in a race up the density ladder, all in order to leave room for Dixon's sparse, echo-drenched punctuations. Despite their efforts, the trumpeter does not feel quite at ease. Less talkative than usual, he plays little and contributes even less to the group improvisation. All that being said, this CD (released very quickly by Victo's standards) remains an interesting listen, a good average session. Fans of any or all of these living legends will not want to pass it up, especially since it was recorded by the talented engineers at Radio-Canada. It just proves that sometimes the sum of a group does not equal the value of its parts. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 25 March 1929 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Soon after he first emerged in the mid-'50s, pianist Cecil Taylor was the most advanced improviser in jazz; five decades later he is still the most radical. Although in his early days he used some standards as vehicles for improvisation, since the early '60s Taylor has stuck exclusively to originals. To simplify describing his style, one could say that Taylor's intense atonal percussive approach involves playing the piano as if it were a set of drums. He generally emphasizes dense clusters...
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