CECIL TAYLOR — Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come (2xLP) (review)

CECIL TAYLOR — Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come (2xLP) album cover Boxset / Compilation · 1975 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
”Nefertiti the Beautiful One has Come” is an interesting album for Cecil Taylor fans, because it shows the artist in transition and still working out his approach to the piano. By the time we get to the 70s, Taylor will have refined his ability to present explosive ideas cascading in constant evolution, much like waves pounding a rocky shore, but back in 62, when this set was recorded, you can still hear some of Taylor’s roots in the blues and hard bop. Elements of Ellington, Monk and McCoy Tyner all make their appearance on here, alongside Taylor’s expected unique skittish barrages that sound like no else.

Cecil’s two band mates on here, Jimmy Lyons on alto, and Sonny Murray on drums, make up one of the best and most sympathetic bands Taylor ever worked with, and the three together make up one of the top trios of early 60s jazz. Taylor’s two sideman are very much with him in the ‘new freedom’ of the early 60s, but even more than Taylor, they reveal a lot about where they came from. Lyons is obviously a fan of Charlie Parker, and quotes from him constantly, other possible references might include Johnny Griffin and Ornette Coleman. Meanwhile, Murray’s approach to free rhythm sounds like the fills of Max Roach and Roy Haynes strung together without the parts where they just keep time. Sometimes this trio sounds like Monk’s band when it featured more outside saxophonists like Pat Patrick.

All of the tracks on here are good, and most are what you would expect from Taylor, but some of the odder more unexpected cuts worth mentioning include “D Trad, That’s What”, on which Taylor pounds out some noisy barroom blues for a while, and the well known standard “What’s New”, which has Taylor actually playing to the chord changes of the original, but very much in his own way. As far as the ‘free’ playing goes, the band really hits their stride on the two cuts that make up side four.

The sound quality on here is not great, and the piano Cecil has to play is saloon style out of tune, but most recorded avant-garde jazz back then sounded like this, in fact, bad production almost seemed to be a point of pride, as if to deny any commercial concerns whatsoever. Still, at a reasonably loud volume, this record doesn’t sound too bad, but at low volumes, it can sound murky.
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