Laura Snapes “Cecil Taylor, free jazz pioneer, dies age 89” https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/06/cecil-taylor-free-jazz-pioneer-dies-age-89-new-york-pianist-avant-garde
John Fordham*1 “Cecil Taylor obituary” https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/08/cecil-taylor-obituary
Tom Vitale “Cecil Taylor, Jazz Icon Of The Avant-Garde, Dies At 89” https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/04/06/535064217/cecil-taylor-jazz-icon-of-the-avant-garde-dies-at-89
(…) Taylor's legacy is his sound: He played the piano with a furious attack, using the entire range of the instrument to create a unique musical language. His approach inspired other musicians and he remained true to it, even though it meant a lifetime of financial struggles.
Cecil Taylor said he always strove to leave his audience breathless, an approach he said he adopted after he saw Billie Holiday sing for the first time when he was 16 years old. He was captivated by the gardenia in her hair, her long white gloves and the sound of her voice.
"The first thing you saw on the left side of her head was these gardenias," Taylor recalled. "The gloves, white, came above her elbow. The body all in white. The fur flowing. And when she started to sing, the right elbow would be bent, and the left leg dipped. And I said, 'Whoa.' And the next day I said to myself in my kitchen, 'What that woman did to me, if I ever grow up, that's what I'd like to do to the audience.'"
For more than 60 years onstage, Cecil Taylor did just that. "When you play, when you perform, it might be for the last time," he said. "So you got to do it."
In an interview with the Guardian’s jazz critic John Fordham in the late 1980s, Taylor talked of his mother’s encouragement, describing “the difficulty that I had with certain major jazz impresarios on the rare occasions they claimed they were going to make me star. Mama had already made me a galaxy. So I knew those people don’t really give you anything. They say, ‘We will give you money, but we want you to play this, or that.’ And I always thought, if I’m going to do that, I might as well go back and be a dishwasher.”
Taylor’s unique style – “tone clusters” over chords, spontaneity above all – was too personal to influence mainstream jazz piano idioms, but made him an inspiration to the international avant garde. He frequently associated with fellow improv stars including Evan Parker, Han Bennink and Derek Bailey, and maintained a long-lasting partnership with the British percussionist Tony Oxley.
Despite his radicalism – or perhaps because of it – Taylor found himself ostracised by many mainstream jazz clubs, and earned a living washing dishes and working at a dry-cleaning company. The audience laughed during his first official performance, leading the promoter to cancel his appearance the following night – a pattern that would continue through his early shows in conventional jazz clubs, which confounded listeners.
David A. Graham “The Deceptively Accessible Music of Cecil Taylor” https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/04/cecil-taylor-obituary/557507/
Alex Ross “Cecil Taylor and the Art of Noise” https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/cecil-taylor-and-the-art-of-noise
John Fordham “ Cecil Taylor: a visionary pianist who breathed fire and life into jazz” https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/06/cecil-taylor-visionary-pianist-jazz