Jazz Record Center

Cecil Taylor - All The Notes - A Christopher Felver Film


73 Mins
Directors Cut

Features appearances by Derek Bailey, Amiri Baraka, Billy Bang, Elvin Jones, Nathaniel Mackey, Al Young, and Mal Waldron.
In 2003 director Chris Felver turned his attention to the media-shy, towering free jazz figure of Cecil Taylor. Economy of means - a set-up using one or two DV cams at most - allowed Felver to get up close and personal with pianist, gaining unprecedented access to Taylor's Brooklyn home/workplace, nailing his frequent stentorian pronouncements on life, art, music and childhood memories, as well as shadowing him to various concert engagements, teaching gigs in California, and a trip backstage to meet old friend Mal Waldron.
To say Taylor is larger than life is an understatement. His musicianship is informed by a deep intellectual underpinning. One of the earliest sequences shows him seated at his grand piano, poring over a book of architecture and discussing his pianism in terms of structurel integrity on the same level as bridge spans. His scores, "unhooked from the stave paper and using "not notes -- alphabets", look more like calculus that might for example, tell you the density of suns. Many insights into his complex superclustered playing are gleaned: that for example he has forsaken standard intervals such as the perfect fourth and fifth, that he is interested in perfecting contrary motions of the hands; and that he spends hours each day playing his piano at home, staring at the movements of a tree that grows right outside his window.

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