For Cecil Taylor cs527









“For Cecil Taylor” was recently released on April. Remarkable and interesting album was recorded by “New Thing Unit” – it’s Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Paulo Alexandre Jorge (tenor saxophone), Eduardo Chagas (trombone), Miguel Mira (cello), Manuel Guimarães (piano) and Pedro Santo (drums). All the compositions of this album are dedicated for great avant-garde jazz legend Cecil Taylor, which died on April 5, 2018. Cecil Taylor was a great and marvelous pianist and improviser. Through the years of his musical activity, he had created unique and interesting playing style and manner. All his improvisations were based onexpressive, vivacious and vibrant sound, were full of stunning musical experiments, strange noises, experimental ways of playing, turbulent and powerful culminations, expressive melodies and dynamic stylistic changes. All these elements were masterfully combined together in his improvisations. The music of Cecil Taylor was totally based on basic styles of avant-garde jazz. “New Thing Unit” music is full of various stylistic waves, has evocative and expressive sound, rich and vivacious musical language. Each musician is creative and outstanding improviser. Unique playing style, original and inventive musical decisions, specific and own playing techniques, experimental ways of playing and search of new timbres and sounds. The musicians are trying to create an extraordinary, unique and expressive sound. Their playing manner is especially expressive, bright and modern – it also has vibrant, interesting, contrasting and vivacious sound. The synthesis of avant-garde jazz and bebop, hard-bop, post-bop and other contemporary modern jazz intonations are gently combined together. The intonations of contemporary academical music, elements of various countries ethnic music, experimental music and academic avant-garde also are heard in the music of these musicians.
The music of this album has interesting and original sound. It’s based on collective improvisations, free structure, interesting musical experiments by each musician and striking and evocative musical language. All these elements help musicians to create interesting, vivacious, vivid and expressive sound. Each musician is improvising individually – the improvisations have its own character, are based on indepdndent musical decisions and specific playing manners. Saxophone improvisations by Paulo Alexandre Jorge have effective, expressive and vibrant sound. It’s full of dynamic and sudden stylistic changes and turns – improviser uses especially huge variety of traditional playing techniques and experimental ways of playing. The extraction of unusual and strange timbres is the main priority of the saxophonist. He’s making an effort to search and extract original and weird sounds and new ways of playing. His improvisations are expressive, vivid, vivacious and striking, mostly are based on abstract musical pattern and free form. Spontaneous and vibrant solos, sharp harmony, colorful timbres and sounds, expressive and vivacious melodic elements, rigorous and sharp blow outs and many other elements make an effort to whole sound of the album. Trombone improvisations by Eduardo Chagas are deep, nright and solid. Repetitive and monotonic bass line is highly contrasting with live, active, rapid and dynamic saxophone. Deep, soft and monotonic trombone tones are blended together with bright, expressive and aggressive solos, original and interesting ways of playing and unusual sounds. Manuel Guimarães piano improvisations are especially energetic, striking and touching. It’s full of passionate and virtuosic passages, colorful and rapid arpeggios, sharp and dissonance harmony, separate chords, which are based on unusual tones combinations, extended variety of playing techniques, expressions and other elements of musical language. Pianist playing is especially evocative and interesting – it’s also full of vibrant, sudden and colorful waves, turns, surprises and changes. Viola (Ernesto Rodrigues) and cello (Miguel Mira) improvisations bring the intonations academic avant-garde and experimental music. Though, the basics of their improvisations are the main elements of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation, both musicians are using many modern and experimental playing techniques of academic avant-garde and experimental music. That makes an effort to the marvelous and organic synthesis between avant-garde jazz, free improvisation and experimental music. Vibrant and effective solos, expressive and vivacious melodies, virtuosic passages, soft and subtle pizzicato, glissando and many other similar playing techniques are combined together with experimental and specific ways of playing. Pedro Santo drums section is colorful and dynamic. Various rhythms of avant-garde and modern jazz styles are connected together with spontaneous, turbulent and free solos, colorful percussion timbres, extended playing techniques, huge range of expressions, dynamics and other elements of musical language. All musicians are improvising expressively and passionately- their music has remarkable and interesting sound. (Avant Scena)

As recently suggested amid extensive comments on 0 minutes and 0 seconds earlier this month, Ernesto Rodrigues tribute albums do not tend to be straightforward or derivative — and might even be confusing — as is the case (once again, perhaps) for the recent For Cecil Taylor (recorded in Lisbon this past March) by a sextet named New Thing Unit: Rodrigues (viola), Paulo Alexandre Jorge (tenor saxophone), Eduardo Chagas (trombone), Manuel Guimarães (piano), Miguel Mira (cello) & Pedro Santo (drums). I had already noted the participation of Chagas when discussing Meandros e Vertentes, and of course Mira appears on so many albums with Rodrigues.... Jorge & Guimarães hadn't appeared in this space previously, but both have prior albums on Creative Sources (as well as e.g. Clean Feed for the latter) — and both are known for their knowledge of twentieth century USA popular music, obviously relevant background for this tribute album. (And that term "background" does happen to be important in this case....) Finally, I had mentioned Santo in conjunction with José Lencastre's 08.30/18.09/10.10/10.18 (in December), and he appears to work most often in more traditional settings. So the sextet consists of one alto (Rodrigues on viola), three tenors (of which the cello sometimes functions as a bass), and piano & drums. Whereas Rodrigues does engage in some traditional string virtuosity from his position in the highest register, it's not always particularly evident. Indeed, For Cecil Taylor generally has a kind of murky & swirling character from which more traditional expressions & interactions, even solos, sometimes emerge. And whereas the "murky swirling" garden includes various string harmonics & the like, the simmering activity generally has a traditional feel as well, featuring a variety of interlocking ostinati & other techniques of continuity. It's basically the "stuff" of jazz, but presented from other directions. (One might thus note that it starts by constructing a mood, which it might then harvest....) Sometimes the result is quite a racket, but some activity is usually more in the foreground, while some is more in the background, and these relative positions can shift, whether suddenly or gradually, as different activity sharpens or comes into focus. Per the previous entry (& pace harmonics), instruments do usually "sound like instruments" here, versus more experimental settings typical of Rodrigues, though. Moreover, For Cecil Taylor is a long album, over an hour, and thus presents plenty of opportunity for a wide variety of interactions: Track #3 (the longest) begins on piano, which might be said to imitate Taylor, but only tangentially — and then the piano asserts itself again for its most traditionally jazzy (even romantic) evocations only toward the end of track #4 (after various intervening, less qualifiable, piano activity — i.e. the noted ostinati, etc.). The result is almost a haze of Taylor's associated sounds & musical environment, from which some more specific (& sometimes more specifically jazzy) individual tributes can emerge amid other layers of activity. (One almost wishes for more of this mode from e.g. the horns, which can be surprisingly & straightforwardly expressive at times.) Perhaps For Cecil Taylor can be characterized as an impressionistic collage of Taylor's forms & sounds, then — which finally dissolve away. (And of course Taylor himself had ceased his musical activity by the time that I began this project, so nothing from him ever really fit here, although I did list his Victoriaville trio album with Bill Dixon & Tony Oxley as my oldest item for a while.) 28 June 2018. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

Numa editora (a sua) que se tornou num dos baluartes mundiais da tendência reducionista da improvisação, eis que o violetista Ernesto Rodrigues regressa neste “For Cecil Taylor” às suas raízes, as do free jazz. Podia tê-lo feito mimetizando as concepções do desaparecido pianista, dada a intenção colocada em título de lhe prestar tributo, mas isso seria demasiado óbvio. O que ouvimos é um grupo de improvisação livre a remexer na linguagem da chamada New Thing sem nunca perder a distância que vai de uma condição para a outra, ainda que as referências na música contemporânea que têm norteado o percurso de Rodrigues (e de certo modo também os do trombonista da New Thing Unit, Eduardo Chagas) se façam sentir tanto quanto os do jazz, até porque assim acontecia com Cecil Taylor.
A escolha dos restantes membros é elucidativa no que respeita à vontade de nada estereotipar: se Paulo Alexandre Jorge, em saxofone tenor, é um descendente directo do tipo de linguagem abraçado por Taylor (as suas abordagens remetem-nos amiúdes vezes para Archie Shepp - nunca para o que seria um Jimmy Lyons mais grave), e se Miguel Mira, no violoncelo afinado como um contrabaixo, é dessa tradição que parte, já as presenças do pianista Manuel Guimarães e do baterista Pedro Santo garantem que nenhuma linearidade seja possível. Curioso é, aliás, verificar que os quatro temas reunidos terminam precisamente quando os parâmetros arriscam a tornar-se demasiado “taylorianos”. Excusado seria dizer que a viola de Ernesto Rodrigues em nenhum momento faz as vezes do violino de Ramsey Ameen – são outras as suas coordenadas, aquelas a que o músico nos tem habituado. Com tais procedimentos, o sexteto realiza algo que, com certeza, o homenageado teria gostado: que o seu contributo para a história do jazz surja como um exemplo de liberdade criativa e não como um modelo a reproduzir passivamente. Rui Eduardo Paes (

Cecil Percival Taylor (March 25, 1929  April 5, 2018) was an American pianist and poet, on the most prominent artists of the XX and XXI century. "Taylor was classically trained and was one of the pioneers of free jazz. His music is characterized by an energetic, physical approach, resulting in complex improvisation often involving tone clusters and intricate poly-rhythms. His technique has been compared to percussion. Referring to the number of keys on a standard piano, Val Wilmer used the phrase "eighty-eight tuned drums" to describe Taylor's style. He has been referred to as being "like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings"." In a sadly
prophetic session on 17th of March 2018 Ernesto and his New Thing Unit gives tribute and homage to this Giant of contemporary art.
New This Unit has a very special sound, combining strings (viola and cello) with the sounds of tenor and trombone, and piano and drums support. The set starts with "I", which is a perfect presentation of the band's approach to free improvisation. It opens with delicate saxophone/
trombone sounds, and inside/outside piano key strokes. The strings contribute bowing or pizzicato, and then the drums join. One has impression of something growing slowly, but consequently. After 3 minutes the first explosion occurs involving everybody, but with the
fantastic trombone and viola solo in the first place. The improvisation becomes more collective, but the saxophone takes over for a while, making place for another viola and cello statement. After 10 minutes the piano has voice for some time. The mood becomes more peaceful,
to erupt again in the 15 minutes. This 17 minutes long track is a masterpiece!!!
The following "II" is a shorter, 6 minutes long ballad--like tune, with breath taking and heart breaking melancholic collective improvisations. "III" is another 25 minutes long highlight, starting with Cecil Taylor-like piano lines. The strings make here a phenomenal background.
After 2 minutes the whole ensemble enters super powerfully: trombone and then the saxophone declare the war to end it with a peace in the 10th minute. The strings are in front again, with Miguel playing pizzicato bass lines. The fragmented solo of Paolo end with the cello solo, after which the ensemble comes back giving place to the trombone statement. Another collective eruption takes place to finish with a bluesy and sad saxophone/cello/drums trio. Incredible stuff!!! The set ends with "IV", another shorter, yet 13 minutes long track that starts with the drums and strings trio. In the third minute the band joins in a full dimension, but
the lead belongs to the strings. This changes in the sixth minute when the trombone and the saxophone take over. The piano is also omnipresent, and in the 9th minute the piano solo starts. It lasts over two minutes and ends with an entry of the drums and string that augments and ceases till the very end.
For me this, in addition to "Meandros e Vertentes" is one of the best records of the Rogrigues "gang", and one of the best free improvised records of the Portuguese scene of the last decade!!! Maciej Lewenstein

Dedicated to the late free jazz legend Cecil Taylor, this Lisbon sextet of Paulo Alexandre Jorge on tenor saxophone, Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Eduardo Chagas on trombone, Manuel Guimaraes on piano, Miguel Mira on cello, and Pedro Santo on drums performs four energetic and well-balanced collective improvisations, respecting and evoking the incredible legacy Taylor left behind. (Squidco)

On retrouve l’esprit de Cecil Taylor et de son Unit dans cette musique « free-jazz » enregistrée au Studio Namouche à Lisbonne. On n’aurait jamais imaginé il y a quinze ou même sept ans entendre un tel album chez Creative Sources, ni trouver le très classieux altiste Ernesto Rodrigues en telle compagnie. Le violoncelliste Miguel Mira est plus coutumier du fait avec Rodrigo Amado et Gabriel Ferrandini. Mais foin de spéculations esthétiques, vous avez ici du bon vieux free jazz joué collectivement avec deux excellents cordistes qui virevoltent , un pianiste compétent, un tromboniste allumé, un saxophoniste ténor enflammé et un batteur qui se bonifie tout au long de la session. Quatre parties dont les deux premières hautes en couleur avec des vagues incandescentes, des parties monodiques des cuivres évoluant par-dessus l’activité trépidante autour du batteur et du violoncelliste. Le troisième morceau se focalise sur les deux cordes qui scient à tout va, le tromboniste Eduardo Chagas hachant menu la colonne d’air et le pianiste piquetant ses commentaires avisés. Le sax emboîte le pas en faisant chuinter, grincer sa sonorité jusqu’aux harmoniques sauvages et frustes et le tromboniste soufflant à pleins poumons. Le travail de Jorge dans les harmoniques est méritant et la sensibilité et les idées d’Ernesto Rodrigues remonte à la surface apportant une couleur qui complète les morsures sur l’anche du saxophoniste. Chacun apporte sa pierre à l’édifice en faisant varier les plaisirs pour que cela s’écoute encore après vingt minutes et plus. Ça joue à l’emporte-pièce et cela me rappelle l’excitation éprouvée avec ces albums ESP et BYG avec Frank Wright, Sunny Murray, Alan Shorter etc... Ça évolue dans des sphères plus mystérieuses et espacées tout en soutenant l’atmosphère un peu dramatique. La quatrième partie commence avec un riff du violoncelliste et le jeu passionné et extrême du violoniste, introduisant un motif mélodique ressassé du ténor, et les raclements du trombone, parfait leitmotiv pour l’empoignade finale … Du free en somme. Pour Cecil Taylor. Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (Orynx)