Free Jazz Innovator Cecil Taylor Has Died

The American pianist was 89 years old...

Free jazz giant Cecil Taylor has died at the age of 89.

The pianist was a crucial figure in the development of free jazz, with his wide-open compositions finding new voices in his chosen instrument.

A nimble, humane, organic composer, Cecil Taylor's work broke boundaries while still being innately accessible, in part due to the superbly rhythmic nature of his playing.

Raised in New York's Queens neighbourhood, Taylor's early work fits into the post-bop lineage, but as the 60s dawned his work took on bold new shades.

At times finding both live and studio work difficult to come by – testament to the provocative power of his art – a partnership with Blue Note resulted in crucial jazz landmarks such as 1966 album 'Conquistador'.

As the influence of free jazz faded Cecil Taylor was pushed once more to the margins, but a dogged following helped sustain his art as he embarked on brave new projects.

Remaining a startling concert attraction, he lived long enough for a critical re-appraisal to occur, and for his landmark recordings to be afforded the status they deserve.

Cecil Taylor passed away yesterday (April 5th) – he was 89 years old.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.