Personalities | Cecil Taylor | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

(Piano, b. 1929)

Since the late 1950s, pianist Cecil Taylor has maintained a prime position in the pantheon of free jazz. He was one of the first jazzmen to jettison standard chord changes, fixed rhythms and expected ensemble roles in the interest of musical democracy. Taylor developed his unorthodox style while studying at New England Conservatory. Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Lennie Tristano were among his major influences. Taylor debuted in 1956 with Jazz Advance!.

He treats the piano as a percussion instrument, hammering out dissonant chords and long, sinuous melody lines, and has been both condemned and praised for his innovations. Besides leading magnificent ensembles – the best of which featured alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons – and collaborating with artists ranging from Mary Lou Williams and Max Roach to the dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, Taylor is also a commanding solo performer. He is tirelessly adept at forming beauty out of seeming chaos, and his performances can last for hours.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Ten Years After | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.