A live recording of Cecil Taylor that was once thought to be lost to time has just been released by Oblivion Records.
The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert marks the legendary jazz pianist’s return to live performance in 1973 following a long self-imposed hiatus from recording. Fans can now relive the moment that Taylor, an undisputed pioneer of free jazz improvisation, made his triumphant return at Town Hall in New York on Nov. 4, 1973.
The recording features the Cecil Taylor Unit, with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons and percussionist Andrew Cyrille along with the addition of Sirone on bass.
Taylor was known for his complex virtuosity and relentless improvisational energy, which made him a prominent figure in the advent of the free jazz movement. Following the successes of his albums Unit Structures and Conquistador!, both released by Blue Note Records, Taylor subsequently exiled himself from recording to focus on academia. This five-year period ended with the fated reunion of the Cecil Taylor Unit in 1973, with newcomer Sirone joining the performance.
Producer Fred Seibert of Oblivion Records jumped at the chance to capture the full concert, mixing the recording with the help of legendary engineer Tony May. “We were memorializing what was billed as a triumphant return,” Seibert says in his producer’s note.
Once available in 1974 as a limited LP from Tayor’s own record label, Unit Core, the second set of the concert, Spring of Two Blue J’s, was the only material subsequently released — representing only a third of the original recording. This new release is the first time that the 88-minute recording is available in full.
The album represents a lost chapter in Taylor’s continuous pursuit for artistic growth and freedom, breaking through the entrenched boundaries of conventional jazz. It’s a raw, visceral experience as listeners witness complex exchanges between all four musicians, executed with a chaotic balance.
The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert by Cecil Taylor is available now as a digital release via Oblivion Records.