I had the honor of working with Cecil in various ensembles from 1989 – 1993, although my last gig with him was in 1995. His influence on me as a guitarist and composer has been massive.
Talk about drinking from a fire hose…
Cecil was way more than this world’s general masses could understand or absorb. Beyond the beyond… To hope for a glint of his universe would be considered a gift for those in-the-know. Cecil would largely credit his strict mother for his discipline for practicing and often talked about how deeply she influenced him. He was truly humble and was always working on new approaches to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. He could be irreverently silly in the face of an overly serious and self-absorbed gathering of polemics.
I’ll cherish the memories of playing with him, of course, great conversations about musicians and music, funny stories and heavy hangs around town and abroad. Greatly missed will be meeting him to have sardine sandwiches, sharing his homemade health drinks (which he prepared for any of us interested after performing marathon rehearsals in his Fort Greene home), imbibing Veuve Clicquot and…and…
Perhaps my favorite story of Cecil’s was when early on, (he would remember the date), he went to hear Lennie Tristano play (and unlike Cecil, I don’t remember which NYC club it was) and this was early on in Lennie’s career. The only two people in the audience—all the way in the back of the club—were Cecil and Bill Evans!
Cecil seemed to love talking about musicians and what you thought of them and often wanted to discuss singers. “What do you think of Ella Fitzgerald…?...Sarah Vaughn…?...Abbey Lincoln…?...Betty Carter…?…Aretha…?” His remarkable ability to recall dates when events occurred was mind-blowing!
And anyone who knew Cecil well was aware of his love of bridges. The architect, Santiago Calatrava, in particular.
One funny image that comes to mind is an episode when we were playing in Spain. Upon our arrival, both Cecil and I were experiencing a significant amount of pain related to our respective dental conditions. In my case, it was a shooting pain due to a loose mercury filling which was sitting on a nerve. I think Cecil’s discomfort stemmed from a loosened partial. So we’re both at the dentist’s office in adjoining rooms with his business manager, who spoke fluent Spanish, scurrying back and forth between our chairs translating for each of us about what the procedure should be. Cecil calmly and clearly assessed the triage and most graciously insisted that the dentist deal with me first. For me, it’s a funny and endearing memory. Quite an experience to share a rather excruciating visit to a dentist, alongside the Maestro.
While attempting to write down thoughts on Cecil, two favorite stanzas from Rumi come to mind which help describe for me the vastness of Cecil's influence.
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense." - Rumi
Other than the invaluable musical lessons learned simply by playing with Cecil, he once suggested experimenting more with dyads. And that was and continues to be a goldmine of exploration, discovery and invention for me.
Cecil’s profound influence on my music, his philosophies and inspiration created a deep current that will continue throughout my lifetime, as it will with so many others.
It is daunting, to say the least, to attempt to convey the tiniest bit of the life of such a revolutionary genius without sounding trite or just hitting on the surface. And that is why we have historians, critics and best of all, fellow-musicians and kindred spirits to help share his story.
One day back in 1989 while I was talking to my mother and telling her about playing with Cecil, she said his name and said that he sounded familiar. Then she claimed, "I know Cecil Taylor!" She proceeded to dig up her Flushing High School Yearbook and there, lo and behold, not only CT's photo along with my mother's photo but Cecil's signing of my mother's yearbook! Coooool...
Some weeks later I brought the yearbook over to Cecil's to show him. As he mulled over the photos and inscription it was obvious that the wayback machine had kicked in and "the coin", as ethereal as it was, had dropped. Cooool...
I'm thrilled to be included in this new book by Scott Yanow. Quite an undertaking. Great job Scott!
To see TV video clip featuring JB's tune "Funkyard" click youtube link below. And go to www.ohny.org for more info about the architectural events.
Portals For this project I decided to include the listener in the journey, in its raw state, as the music was being conceived and developed. Much of the music was recorded at the very moment it was being discovered. As I improvised off of a few main themes, bridging freedom with form, using construction/deconstruction and reconstruction applications, a fresh approach emerged. For me, one of the most gratifying discoveries from working in this realm was the birth of new techniques to execute and implement the “real time” ideas. - JB
Featuring -Billy Cobham, Mitchel Forman, Dennis Chambers, Russell Tubbs, Jim Beard, Matt Garrison, Gary Husband and Vinnie Colaiuta, Nguyên Lê, Renau Garcia-Fons, Tino Di Geraldo, Kudsi Erguner, Pascal Bournet, HR Big Band, Ron Thaler, Gregg Bendian, Adam Holzman, Glenn Alexander, Eric Friedlander, John Patitucci, Trinity, Mahavishnu Project, Billy Ward, Pete McCann, John Stowell, Lucas Pickford & Steve Hunt, Gustavo Assis Brasil , John Bruschini, Jon Herington, Bob Malach, Jim Nolet, Jeff Hirshfield, Wild Strings Quartet, Radio.string.quartet.vienna , Vic Stevens, Percy Jones, David Fiuczynski, Gianfranco Continenza, Mark Egan, Mads Tolling, Göran Klinghagen, Richard Smith
Special Thanks to: John Abercrombie, Mark Anderson, Gustavo Assis-Brasil, Gregg Bendian, Jim Beard, Pascal Bournet, John Bruschini, Ric Calic, Dennis Chambers, Gianfranco Continenza, Petra Deka, Mitchel Forman, Alex Gunia, Jon Herington, Steve Hunt, Gary Husband, Franz Holtmann, Richard Leo Johnson, Frank Kleinschmidt, Göran Klinghagen, Walter Kolosky, Matthias Krauss, Siggi Loch, Pete McCann, Lukas Pickford, Richard Smith, Clive Stevens, Vic Stevens, Olaf Stötzler, John Stowell, Frank Tafuri, Ron Thaler, Mads Tolling.
Paying affectionate homage to jazz greats is a tricky business, especially when it comes to an artist like John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra is considered by many to be the greatest Jazz-fusion group of all time. The group was formed in late 1970-early 1971 by McLaughlin, a brilliant guitarist with a jazz-rock pedigree that included work with the Graham Bond Organisation in the mid-60s, and with the electrified Miles Davis on his landmark "Bitches Brew" LP in 1969.
Featured are former McLaughlin members Billy Cobham, Mitchel Forman, Dennis Chambers, Russell Tubbs, Jim Beard, Matt Garrison, Gary Husband and Vinnie Colaiuta as well as an assemblage of excellent musicians and bands from all over the world. Nguyên Lê, Renau Garcia-Fons, Tino Di Geraldo, Kudsi Erguner, Pascal Bournet, HR Big Band, Ron Thaler, Gregg Bendian, Adam Holzman, Glenn Alexander, Eric Friedlander, John Patitucci, Trinity, Mahavishnu Project, Billy Ward, Pete McCann, John Stowell, Lucas Pickford & Steve Hunt, Gustavo Assis Brasil , John Bruschini, Jon Herington, Bob Malach, Jim Nolet, Jeff Hirshfield, Wild Strings Quartet, Radio.string.quartet.vienna , Vic Stevens, Percy Jones, David Fiuczynski, Gianfranco Continenza, Mark Egan, Mads Tolling, Göran Klinghagen, Richard Smith, etc. Track 2 comes from N.Y.C. John Bruschini guitarist, who is well known for his versatility and has performed in many of the city’s popular clubs and performance spaces including The Knitting Factory, Visiones, Condon’s, S.O.B.’s, The 55 Bar, CBGB’s and other venues. Performing with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Dave Douglas and Myra Melford, guitarist John Bruschini may be a known quantity in the New York City environs. On “Way Down” he has put together a great band - Robert Aries [keyboards] (John Scofield, Bill Evans [sax]), Jeff Hirshfield [drums] (Dr. John, John Zorn, Randy Brecker, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Bley), Jim Nolet [viola] (Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry), Kip Reed [bass] (Gil Evans, Tania Maria).
1. Gary Husband - Celstial Terrestrial Commuters 2. Nguyen Le - Dding Dek 3. Mithcel Forman - Thousand Island Park 4. Pascal Bournet - Guardian Angels 5.HR Big Band with Billy Cobham - Eternity's Breath 6. Ron Thaler - Some Timeless 7. Mahavishnu Project - Sanctuary 8. Jim Beard - In All Her Finery 9. Pete McCann - JM 10. john Stowell - A Lotus on Irish Streams 11. Trinity Xperiment - Visions of Fire 12. Lucas Pickford & Steve Hunt - The Wish 13. Gustavo Assis-Brasil - The Same Day
1. Wild Strings Quartet - Trilogy 2. John Bruschini - Way Down 3. Radio String Quartet Vienna - Meeting of the Spirits 4. Dennis Chambers - Paris on Mine 5. Goran Klinghagen Trio - Do You Hear Voices that You Left Behind 6. Mahavishnu Project String Quartet - La Mere De La Mer/Smile of the Beyond 7. Vic Stevens - Would You Like to Dance? 8. Kimo Williams & Kimotion - John's Blues 9. Pascal Bournet & Enrique Alberti - Open Country 10. Gianfranco Continenza - One Word 11. Mads Tolling - Song To John 12. Richard Smith - Cosmic Strut
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