The visionary pianist who revolutionized jazz when he launched the free jazz movement in the late 1950s has died. The AP reports that Cecil Taylor died Thursday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 89.
Details about his cause of death were not known.
“Taylor, born in New York on March 25, 1929, was known as one of the pioneers of the free jazz movement, and was seen as both a groundbreaking and uncompromising artist,” the AP reports. “Taylor released his first album, ‘Jazz Advance,’ in 1956. He was also known as a poet and would recite his poems at live shows.”
The report quotes a statement from Taylor’s legal guardian, Adam C. Wilner, who writes: “Cecil had a magical touch on the keys and was a genius at the arts. He lives on through his uncanny ability to express his music and poetry in various forms of beauty, pain, injustice and peace. He will always be remembered in the history of jazz for his free-form improvisational notes. He will be missed by his family, friends and fellow musicians.”
Here’s a taste of Taylor’s playing …