Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Cecil Taylor – The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert - February 15, 2022 (Oblivion Records)

Cecil Taylor – The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert to be released on February 15, 2022 via Oblivion Records

Oblivion Records is delighted to announce the February 15, 2022 release of Cecil Taylor – The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert, marking the first chance for listeners to hear the legendary pianist’s 1973 return to live performance in full. The concert saw Taylor reunite with Cecil Taylor Unit members Jimmy Lyons (alto saxophone) and Andrew Cyrille (percussion), with the addition of Sirone on bass. This project, assembled by the original producer and recording engineer Fred Seibert, is a much-anticipated opportunity to hear the missing piece of a puzzle long-thought lost, that adds another chapter to the story of Taylor’s search for artistic freedom. 

Taylor, one of the undisputed giants of free improvisation, made his return to live performance at The Town Hall, New York City on November 4, 1973. The second part of the concert produced a recording – a limited-run LP was made of the now seminal two-part ‘Spring of Two Blue-J’s’, released on Taylor’s own Unit Core label. Now, with the advent of digital recordings, the landmark ‘return’ concert is now available in its entirety, committing the 88-minute epic ‘Autumn/Parade’ to official release for the first time ever.

Taylor’s combination of restless pianistic energy and truly virtuosic artistic spirit quickly cemented his unassailable status as a true pioneer of the free jazz movement. Yet, a succession of celebrated Blue Note releases meant that, by the early 1970s, Taylor was entering a period of unprecedented financial security. By 1973, the 44-year-old Taylor had been in self-imposed recording exile for five years, choosing instead to focus on pursuing academia. In that time, Taylor worked as a visiting professor at Antioch College and University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as dedicating time to composing.
Except for ‘Indent’, a solo piano release recorded at Antioch earlier in ’73, this was a total hiatus from recording – surprising perhaps, given the respect that recent releases Unit Structures and Conquistador! had both commanded, so thoughts of a new live album recorded in New York was a tantalizing prospect. 

And so it proved. Earlier in 1973, Fred Seibert, a student at Columbia who worked at the adventurously minded WKCR Radio station, had been approached by a mysterious figure in David Laura, who had a proposal for aspiring record producer Seibert. He was going to bring the Cecil Taylor Unit to The Town Hall, and he wanted Seibert to record it.
July 09, 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival / Andrew Putler/ Redferns / GettyImages
April 18, 1975 Five Spot Cafe / Fred McDarrah / MUUS Collection Getty Images

“We were memorializing what was billed as a triumphant return,” says Seibert in his producer’s note. The Unit concert was a massive success – it reunited Taylor with long-time associates Jimmy Lyons and Andrew Cyrille along with newcomer Sirone on bass. Seibert recorded the whole concert, and, after mixing it with help from legendary engineer Tony May, a recording of the band’s second set, Spring of Two Blue-J’s made it out into the world in 1974.

Critically speaking, Spring of Two Blue-J’s was a success. Village Voice critic Gary Giddins named the album “Record of the Year”, and years later commented that it “announced Taylor’s permanent reestablishment in the music world, an end to his marginalization, and the evidence of a maturity.” It was Giddins’ record of the year. But Blue J-s only represents a third of the concert that occurred that evening. Due to the limitations of the LP format, and the impact that would make on the realisation of the group’s vision, the decision was made to not release the first 88-minute continuous set.

‘Autumn/Parade’ has many of the hallmarks of Taylor compositions and performances of the period: supercharged spontaneity, improvisational stamina, boundary transgressing in its brazen commitment to just keeping on going, and an unfettered exchange of artistic expression from four equal partners. It’s a raw, visceral musical experience for anybody listening today, which speaks to the unrelenting freshness of Taylor’s approach.

Highlights of the new recording include: Taylor’s piano rebounded an hour into the opener that pave the way for something imitative to fly around for just a second; Lyons’ soloistic flitting, oscillations that encompasses the whole of the instrument, and the piano-dominated final half hour of ‘Autumn/Parade’ that reaches the summit of a colossal musical peak, before reaching a hard-fought conclusion. But what emerges over the course of the whole return concert recording is more evidence of Taylor breaking down the final barriers of jazz conventions in pursuit of artistic freedom. The new complete recording is an exhilarating, detailed longshot of one of the greats in full flight.

The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert by Cecil Taylor will be available as a digital release on February 11, 2021 via Oblivion Records. Accompanying the digital release is a 23-page booklet featuring an essay by Alan Goodman. This release marks a revival for Oblivion - the label’s last announced release was in 1975. 

1. Autumn/Parade (88:00) (quartet)
2. Spring of Two Blue-J’s Part 1 (16:15) (solo)
3. Spring of Two Blue-J’s Part 2 (21:58) (quartet) 

Cecil Taylor - compositions, piano
Jimmy Lyons - alto saxophone
Andrew Cyrille - percussion
Sirone - bass

Percy Jones / Alex Skolnick / Kenny Grohowski / Tim Motzer - PAKT Live In Buffalo (February 15, 2022 MoonJune Records)

In December of 2021, PAKT has performed 4 shows in Rochester, Cleveland, Buffalo, Catskill Village and Piermont, and has recorded a studio album at Scott Pettito's studio in Catskill Village. Buffalo show at the Tralf venue was particularly inspiring.

1. City Of Light 16:47
2. Riviere Aux Chevaux 04:48
3. The Ghost Mills 09:21
4. Last Man Standing 11:12
5. Tobacco Peoples 11:43
6. Beau Fleuve 12:11
7. Minimums 15:21
8. Buffalo Blues 12:08

PERCY JONES - bass guitar
TIM MOTZER - guitars, electronics

Recorded live at the Tralf Music Hall, Buffalo, NY, December 15, 2021.

Recorded and mixed live by Steven Supparits.
Mixed and mastered by Markus Reuter.
Digital editing by Tim Motzer.

PAKT logo paintings/design: Tim Motzer

Produced by PAKT and Leonardo Pavkovic.
Executive production by Leonardo Pavkovic.

Ophi 1 - 'Darkness', soulful new single

New song by Ophi 1. “Darkness” is the latest collaboration of singer Ophi 1 and beatmaker Jakspin, a moody neo soul gem about the dark times in our lives.

While the jazzy boom bap beat builds a thick atmosphere, Ophi 1 tells about his willingness to live without darkness. This song is dedicated to all the people suffering from depression. The pain and the helplessness of being in this dark state can be overwhelming. Ophi 1 works through his experiences trying to soothe his pain through music. Sonically the production balances between the slick production style of the 90s and a classic laid back yet funky backbeat. Atmospheric strings build a breathing basis while a desperate piano cries in the dark. Ophi 1 sings so delicately that you can feel the energy of hope and hopelessness at the same time.

About Ophi 1
Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, Ophi 1 is of Greek and Lebanese origin. He fell in love with music at an early age and made his first instrumental on a crappy Casio keyboard and a tape deck at the age of 12. He started collecting records and soon became the go-to guy for mix tapes and deejaying at parties playing hip hop and R&B. He played at clubs at the age of 16 and at 19 he started producing for singers and rappers such as local female MC Brixx and the American R&B group 4U.

Being a fan of both soul music of the 70s and hip hop of the 90s, Ophi 1 always has been bridging the gap and combining the best elements of both worlds. Finding inspiration in the masters of their game, Stevie Wonder and J Dilla were an essential influence in forming his unique style. Ophi 1 started exploring other genres throughout the years while digging deeper into Jazz and playing the piano. Ophi 1 became a self taught producer with an amazing feel for intricate melodies and sophisticated but yet minimalistic productions.

Today he plays the piano, vintage synthesizers, drums, percussion, guitar and bass.

Where did the name Ophi 1 come from?
Ophi is short for ophichulus which is a rather unknown star sign that’s between the scorpios and the sagittarius. It’s considered the healing zodiac and that’s exactly my approach to making music. I want to create the best I can in order to help people release stress and make them feel good. Besides it really is my star sign because I was born on December 10th.

Grammy® and NAACP Image Award Nominee Brandee Younger Releases “Unrest” on Impulse!





The Socially Reflective Two Track Single Is Available Worldwide Now

Today harpist, composer, and recent Grammy® and NAACP Image Award nominee, Brandee Younger releases “Unrest” (Impulse! Records). The socially conscious two track digital single reflects upon the extraordinary uprising against police brutality and racial violence, aurally capturing the nations sociopolitical upheaval. Made possible by a grant from the Jazz Coalition and recorded at Van Gelder studios amid a pandemic and sweeping political change, Younger deftly captures the turmoil on the emotionally charged tracks and you can listen to them here.

Commenting on the two track release Younger says, “One thing is true for every person hearing this piece; we've all witnessed unrest as the nation grapples with its past and present - all in the midst of quarantine and major political change.” “Unrest” follows the 2021 release of her major label debut album, Somewhere Different, that garnered her a Grammy® nomination for Best Instrumental Composition for “Beautiful is Black” from the genre-busting set and a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album – Instrumental. 

In addition to her prowess as a bandleader, Younger straddles the line between the mainstream and the current jazz generation, exemplified by her work with jazz leaders and popular hip-hop and R&B luminaries including Ravi Coltrane, Kanye West, Maxwell, John Legend, Pharoah Sanders, Common, and Lauryn Hill. Her original composition “Hortense” was also featured in the Beyoncé documentary Homecoming.  
See Brandee Younger

Feb 23   Portland, OR    2022 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival
March 20    Marlboro, NY    The Falcon
April 9    Detroit, MI    The Carr Center
April 23    Houston, TX    DACAMERA
April 29    Lexington, KY    Origins Jazz Series

Keep Up With Brandee Younger