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Cecil Taylor: Blue Light Special

Gene Santoro, Spin, May 1990

FOR THE uninitiated, a Cecil Taylor performance can be like sitting in the middle of a breaking tidal wave on a leaky rubber raft. He stalks the stage moaning surrealist incantations, his braided and beaded hair tossing. At the piano he becomes a barely seated dervish, body reeling and swaying, arms flailing, legs pumping, hands contorting and stretching impossibly as they stroke and pummel the keys. Imploded whimperings rise, sob, sink back into the instrument, explode into note clusters slam-dunked by an elbow or a forearm or a fist. No clear melodies, no certain rhythms, no song structure.

Total word count of piece: 736


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