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Album Review

All one has to do is look at the personnel on this trio project (tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, pianist Cecil Taylor, and drummer Elvin Jones) and it is obvious that the set is potentially special. Taylor, still the most adventurous musician in jazz at that point after 45 years, does not get grouped into all-star settings very often. However, when he does (his earlier encounter with the Art Ensemble of Chicago is an example), it is not a matter of the other musicians meeting Taylor halfway; instead, they have to be creative in his idiom. Tenorman Redman came to fame originally while playing with Ornette Coleman in the late '60s, and for part of the time on Coleman's recordings, Jones was the drummer; however, neither Redman nor Jones had worked with Taylor before. Not every selection on this disc includes all three musicians. Jones takes a brief drum solo, Taylor has a solo feature, and the final 49 seconds are taken up by the saxophonist alone. In addition, there is a duet without Taylor that works quite well. The other strong selections are the two longest trio tracks: "Nine" and the over-20 minute "Is." Redman and Taylor contributed three originals apiece while Jones was just responsible for his unaccompanied "Bekei." Although it is fun to hear Elvin Jones playing behind Cecil Taylor, and Dewey Redman is open to this type of atonal setting, there are fewer sparks on this set than one might expect. The music is unpredictable yet not all that unique or colorful, and one's expectations for a truly classic affair are not quite reached. This is worth listening to, but is not essential except as a historical curiosity.

Biography

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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