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Jazz

Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley: Alianthus /Altissima

Alianthus /Altissima
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    • Sonics
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    One response to the increasingly difficult problem of marketing recorded music is the production of high-quality LPs in limited-run sets that specifically target collectors. Some of the best jazz coming out today falls into this high-end category, and the beautifully packaged Ailanthus/Altissima proves the point. In addition to excellent sound quality and pressings, it boasts a handsome booklet devoted to Taylor’s idiosyncratic poems, and prints of Oxley’s engaging paintings. The music is drawn from a week-long 2008 engagement at the Village Vanguard that provided a rare opportunity for Taylor to perform in the U.S. with Oxley, an English drummer based in Germany, who plays only with his own, specially modified drum kit. One of the most relentless pianists who ever lived, Taylor virtually assaults the keyboard to produce a volcanic flow of cascading, criss- crossing lines, which leave the listener all but exhausted. But in recent years he has shown much more willingness to interject space and even a rhapsodic lyricism into his improvisations. This tendency allows Oxley to really prove his worth, and he reacts and responds to, and anticipates the pianist in what is more collaboration than accompaniment. Available from triplepointrecords.com. 

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