A pair of crucial Cecil Taylor sessions from the 60s – both of which show the free-thinking pianist working amidst some larger arrangements! First up are three tracks from the Gil Evans album Into The Hot – all tunes written by Cecil Taylor – a very bold move for Evans, given Taylor's strongly out reputation even at this point in his career – and possibly even more bold, given that Taylor's on the tracks playing piano, alongside players who include Archie Shepp on tenor, Jimmy Lyons on alto, Henry Grimes on bass, and Sunny Murray on drums – plus work on one track from Ted Curson on trumpet and Roswell Rudd on trombone. The material's fantastic, and is a key part of Taylor's work at the time, and shows a very different setting for his piano – a bit of tension with the larger Evans group, in a way that's almost more compelling than his own early dates as a leader – on the titles "Pots", "Bulbs", and "Mixed". Next is the Unit Structures album – one of a rare few albums done by pianist Cecil Taylor for the Blue Note label in the 60s – some of the most outside work recorded for the imprint at the time! The word "structures" here is perhaps a bit misplaced – as the work has a strong sense of freedom with the soloists – who operate based on a system of energy and impulses described by Taylor in the notes, at a level that's maybe one of his most inventive, ambitious expressions of the decade! The whole lineup is great – with especially strong horn work from Eddie Gale on trumpet, Jimmy Lyons on alto, and Ken McIntyre on alto, oboe, and bass clarinet – and Taylor's piano gets accompaniment from two groundbreaking bassists – Henry Grimes and Alan Silva – plus drums from Andrew Cyrille. Given the lineup, and the format, the whole thing almost feels more like one of the BYG/
Actuel avant sessions than Blue Note in the 60s – and titles include "Steps", "Enter Evening (Soft Line Structure)", "Unit Structure/
As Of A Now/
Section", and "Tales (8 Whisps)".