Jazz History 101: The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert (Oblivion Records), a two-disc gem of free jazz, by avant-garde pioneer Cecil Taylor (with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, percussionist Andrew Cyrille and bassist Sirone)--from Town Hall New York City 11/4/73--is a stunning reminder of just how revolutionary Taylor’s approach to piano was. Parts of it were previously released but the entirety of this magnum opus is presented here for the first time. Long thought lost, it was just too lengthy to ever be commercially released: “Autumn/Parade” alone is a Godzilla-sized 88 minutes.
Taylor [1929-2018] was 44 at the time, prematurely retired from the studio and the road. A stunning series of Blue Note recordings had left him financially secure enough to step back from the spotlight to concentrate on composition and academia. Always a staunch advocate of pursuing full artistic freedom, listening to his unfettered percussive pianistics today is just as thrilling and adventurous as it was upon inception. Long an avatar of the stubborn iconoclast butting heads with what was (and is) considered jazz, Taylor lived to provoke. Forget your long-held senses of harmony, melody and rhythm. Enter Cecil Taylor’s world of fractured conundrums that take patience, enlightenment and openness to wrap your brain around. Do you dare?
Two live Buenos Aires trio club dates by pianist Bill Evans: Morning Glory (1973), with longtime mates bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, and Inner Spirit (1979), with newly hired mates bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbera, have been unearthed and released by the Resonance Records Jazz Detective Zev Feldman. These long out-of-print gigs are the sixth and seventh historical Evans finds in cooperation with the late pianist’s estate. Sonically pristine, the ’73 gig has his originals plus brilliant reworkings of Wayne King’s 1931 “Beautiful Love” (13:34!), Richard Rodgers’s 1935 “My Romance,” Anthony Newley’s 1964 “Who Can I Turn To” and Michel LeGrand’s 1969 “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life.” The pianist’s flow is stylistically smooth and simultaneously adventurous.
The ’79 set—also with amazing sound considering the year—is looser, jammy and filled with melodies you know that he can disassemble and put back together again right on time. His mates stick to him like glue and shine when given the spotlight. It’s almost a spoiler to name the material since it’s more fun when the melodies of such familiar fare as “Stella By Starlight,” “Theme From M*A*S*H,” “I Loves You Porgy” and “Someday My Prince Will Come” reveal themselves in bits and pieces to the point of pleasurable recognition. Evans plays over, under, behind, above and through the melodies with an insouciant ease and masterful sense of timing.
The depth and range of trombonist/composer/educator Karl Silveira’s musical upbringing and experiences come to the fore in his magnificent self-released self-produced all-original A Porta Aperta debut. He shares the front-line of his sextet with two saxophones—tenor and alto—while a smoking hot piano/bass/drums provides the connective tissue. He’s been a hot ‘bone man for hire for the last 15 years but his well-rounded personal iconography includes growing up in his native Portugal learning the songs of his people from his grandfather, studying classical and touring Eastern Europe playing Ukranian folk, jazz and Klezmer. This has to be why such tracks as “Shimmy” and “Perimeter” swing along their merry way with an oh-so-cool worldbeat post-bop vibe.