FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 1989-2004


Bert Noglik


The memory of the productive weeks Cecil Taylor spent here in the summer of 1988 remains undiminished. Illuminated nights. The tender violence of music. Berlin. Strolls through the Tiergarten. The music echoing around us and within ourselves. The last concert - a series of events: the Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley duo. A sensational finale and promise of more to come.

Cut. Another year, another season, November '89. Total Music Meeting, a triad of events: Cecil Taylor solo, The Feel Trio, and the Corona Quintet. By no means a mere follow up: a work in progress. One week before the wall comes down (which no-one can foresee at this time) three high priests of new music meet on stage at the somewhat dilapidated Quartier Latin. But this is no chance meeting. The Feel Trio is what can be called a working group. The certain knowledge of what can be achieved together makes the unexpected a force to be reckoned with, and points the way to new horizons. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly: a glance, a smile, a grin, a frown. Even the slightest wink is enough to set the feedback process in motion or to steer towards a new direction. The atmosphere is serious: each beat, each sound, each interval points to new musical developments. Conclusions. Finale. Nothing can, nothing shall be retracted. Each tone is important. This is what counts, nothing else. Like lovers who began playfully, and suddenly realize: it is no longer a game. Shocked and overwhelmed. Enchanted and yet completely aware of reality. Immediateness, suddenness-the main experience of improvised music.

Cut. Spring '90. Cecil Taylor once again in Berlin to discuss various projects with Jost Gebers. He is eager to hear the tapes. The gist of Taylor's words: it is not just a question of someone playing a beautiful solo and then a good accompaniment. Taylor states the obvious, the apparent, that which cannot audibly be ignored. It is a case of joint venture, of continuity. Joint potential to overcome the previous limits. The often breathtaking complexity, however, still comes across. William Parker and his arco-finesse. Tony Oxley and his sensitive, space-creating style. Cecil Taylor weaving motifs to build larger formations. Organically growing music - sense-challenging and intellect-vibrating.

Cut. A conversation with Cecil Taylor. A pub-crawl without end through Berlin. Single sentences which linger in our memory. Cecil Taylor on William Parker: One of the most underrated bass players. Spoken laconically and yet tantamount to a peerage. Cecil Taylor cites William Parker on Tony Oxley. He said: We should kidnap him. So they too are aware of the uniqueness of the line-up. Get ready to hold your breath. Playful, and yet you can see the lovers begin to realize with horror: it is no longer a game. A contribution to the music of today, but above all the courage to express one's feelings. A veritable conspiracy. Committed to nothing but the unexpected.

Translation: Margaret Neuendorf

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