CECIL TAYLOR "Lazy Afternoon" from The World Of Cedl Taylor (Candid) [After a minute or so] This is Ceci LWe used to play that tune a lot [Sings along with piano solo ] it's very nice to hear that I'd like to hear that more... I haven't heard that in so long. How did you meet Cecil? About 1957 I played with a tenor player called Rocky Boyd, who was John Coltrane's first student He was responsi ble for bringin g me into the bebop world . I ran a coffee house at 3rd and Bleecker called Cafe Something Else, and I had all the Bird 45s on my jukebox I had the hippest jukebox in the Vi ll age' I had my drums in the back, and cats used to come and hang out and play About that time I played bebop Jackie [McLean], Duke Jordan, Doug Watkins, Ted Curson, Donald Byrd, even [J ames] Moody. I was trying to be a good bebop drummer. I met Jimmy Lyons at a jam sess ion, and we became friends and went to sessions together. I ran into Cecil at ajam session. Where did your style come from? How did you break out? I never really broke out When I started to reh earse with Cecil I wanted first to do a good job, and if you listen back to certa in records I still was keeping time. I fi gured out a way mathematically to play ti me with CeciL Dennis [Charles] had his way He got encouraged by Max [Roach] playing with Herbie Nichols. I was really hungry to find somebody that could help me move, and in terms of drummers Max was the closest, because at that time he was playing rhythms that beboppers definitely wouldn't play I used to ask beboppers to play 3/4 and they refused. The only one they'd play was "Jitterbug Waltz" lt was John that brought out 3/4, and 6/8 and 12/8, al l those different rhythms. We didn't even play Caribbean rhythms The only Caribbean thi ng the black community knew was [sings] "Run Joet" I sort of put it all together and tried to get as close as I could to Cecil's spiritual rhythm thing, and it worked out I found I cou ld play different but I had to study three times as hard. I studied acoustics, I read [Hermann] Helmholtz [author of the 1863 book On The Sensations Of Tone], I worked hard not to change my style but to have more to play with Cecil and stil l be able to play bebop, but the beboppers rejected me because they said it couldn't be done. They sa td , 'You keeping hip time, but it's too hip'' So I said, 'I won't bug you with it, I'l l see you later.' lt was very hard to get out of basic rhythms but Cecill ed me out of that He's really responsible for breaking my rhythmical concept How did you work on his pieces? Did he explain the way he wrote them? He was never an intellectual leader. He was an intellectual all right, he wrote notes, he had his structure, the way he mathematically put it together, but it wasn't li ke, 'You do th is, you do that'. He gave the sound and the signal, and if you had some kind of ta lent, you worked from that He preferred you to just do it, and I th ink we had a kind of chemtstry together. I was with Cecil from
1959 until 1965. We brought avant garde to Europe in 1962. When we got to Oslo, we were li ke space aliens. These Norwegian Down Beat winners and stuff had no idea what I was going to play. This club called Metropole used to have jazz, very quiet jazz, and 60 or 70 reall y beautiful prostitutes used to dance with the clients - that was what jazz was used for in the Metropole. Then we came and played a set and. . they danced' They danced to Cecil Taylor playing avant garde' They didn't dance the second set and they sorta complained, but they didn't go From there we went to the Golden Circle [in Stockholm], and we played in a diner, a club restaurant, women sitting with diamonds and pearls, and rich guys, and they had to hear thi s too. This is where guys like Han Bennink met us, and he went that way. John Tchicai followed us around for a wh ile, and I said, 'What do you wanna do?' and he said, 'I wanna play like that'' And he did.
NEW YORK ART QUARTET "Seek Light At Once" from 35th Reunion (DIW) [After th e first drumstrokes] it's got to be Milford [Graves). I don't have to guess about Amiri [Baraka, aka LeRoi Jones). And that's Roswel l [Rudd], and the guy . who plays the saxophone backwards - I always say that about John Tchica i. [Listens a while] I never li ked any drummer wi th Amiri but me. [Laughs] I'm a little selftsh about my friend s, you know.
[At this moment, Baraka intones the words "John Kennedy'11 remember when John Kennedy died. First year I met AmirL The day of Kennedy's death, Amiri invited me over to his place on 3rd Avenue where he li ved with Arch ie [Shepp). He called me and sai d, 'Sunny Murray, come over, I'd like to meet you, though it's a sad day' I said, 'it's not a sad day for me, man. I didn't know Kennedy. Did you?' He says, 'But he was the President'' Anyway, I went over there. He was cryi ng Alien Ginsberg was there, crying William Burroughs was there, crying There was another guy there, crying And I thought, 'This is really rid iculous'' I sa id, 'I don't feel like crying . Ciao'' And I wen t back home' [Laughs] You were always associated with Archie Shepp as being on the 'militant' wing• . . Archie wrote great, brilliant, profound thin gs about black and wh ite, politics, and blah blah... but I'm not sure, . excuse me, that he always lived them. A lot of black musicians and black guys spent a lot of time talking about what the white man in America was doing to them, about what the white man did to us before, about what the white man woul d do to us next They had white man on their minds, and that used to bug me, because I thought that was in favour of the negative forces, having them on your mind. Maybe a lot of people didn't really appreciate me because I was more of an activist I was never the kind of person to have a social conversation about my Marxism. I always felt li ke Max [Roach ] said deeds are more important than words, but I didn't find many revolutionary friends that were really willing to have action. I felt we contributed better and most positively with our music, and that we should have been trying to get more support and control for the musicians at that period Me and Cecil and Jimmy [Lyons] and Henry
Grimes and Don Cherry, we were the ones out there playing We played for the Panthers, we played for this and that We were about action. I've always felt that we spent so much time.ta lking about our problems in Down Beat and other magazines that we allowed ourselves to be eternally victims. We talked a lot, but we never really stood together as musicians, socially, pol itica lly..
ANGUS MACLISE Extract from Invasion Of Thunderbolt Pagoda (Siltbreeze) Shit, I have to listen to that longer. it's vaguely familiar, but .. I don't hear any saxophones or pianos or anything, I just hear the drums. it's OK, but it's aimless. it's not setting any paces or any directions. lt could be Arthur [Doyl e] with some of his guys He has the habit of doing that on some of his records, blurring the situation. lt could be Arthur. lt isn't? I have no idea who it is. This is Angus Maclise, who was the first drummer in The Velvet Underground. This piece is from 1968. Never heard of the guy. He was a major figure in the New York underground. He rnusta real ly been underground' That was a revolutionary period In the beginning of what people cal l 'avant garde',.there was zero. I couldn 't buy an avant garde record unless I bought something by Cage or Varese. I couldn't buy an avant garde record that was in the idiom of jazz. I guess the most rnodern th ing you could buy at that time was Herbie Nichols, and then after hirn Monk. When Ornette came to town - and Ornette was after us - it was still closer to Bi rd than what we were doing. We sort of opened up that record industry thing and then you got other drurnrners who, like this guy, came out of the woodwork, found the courage to bring out their avant garde creations. When we started, we had no idea that anybody was listening to us. We had no .idea that 40 years later there would be two or three generations of avant garde, in Japan, in Germany .. we had no idea.
ALBERT AYLER "Sun Watcher" from New Grass (Impulse!) [Almost at once] AI Call Cobbs. Bill FolweiLAnd the drummer, can't remember his name, was a guy who wanted to study with rne..
Bernard Purdie wanted to study with yOIP. Oh, this is Pretty Purdie? Pretty Purd ie has three hundred platinum records, five hundred gold records, seven hundred hit records.. Last time I saw him I said, 'Man, l'rn not even gonna talk to you no rnoret' [Laughs] a:
A lot of people criticised Ayler's late Impulse! albums,
saying they were a kind of sellout. . .
You know, the funny thing about this - and I laughed ';: with Purdie about this - is that I was supposed to do this ~0..
album. Shit got so confused; first they wanted Beaver [Harris], then they wanted Mohammed [Ali i, and final ly someone told me they were using Purd ie. Albert was the kind of guy who never reall y knew how to impose himself,
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