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


Bert Noglik


JULY 17th, ‘88

They play tightly together, each one following the other's musical direction - almost like two migrant birds which instinctively create, synchronously, their own wave patterns. However, Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley come from quite different cultural and musical traditions. The fact that they are able to find such a sure way of getting together has certainly something to do with the degree to which both have been able to assimilate the experience of Black music and European modern music. No fashionable crossing of frontiers, in order to find the lowest common denominator, but an opening up from both sides, based on a musical identity which can lay claim to the demonstration of an up to date awareness of sound.

Hardly a duo, in which the feeling of flow and pulsation, together with all of the inner structural refinement of timbre would have been brought to life in such a manner. Just as Taylor, over a period of many decades, has worked at the development of his own language, Oxley came, via a varied and highly individual route, to a personal 'percussive' style of drumming in which the traditional handed down rudimental beats have been replaced by a more flowing and moving type of playing. Breaking up the uniformity of rhythmical patterns allows, at the same time, an increase in the feeling of continuity and intensity. In this endeavour, the encounter is between Taylor, who comes mainly from the traditions of the Black, Red Indian and Asian cultures, and Oxley, who has gone, from working with Jazz to improvisation and subsequently found a 'sounds' type of language more European in character. But since Music has moved onto the World's so called 'stage' (which definitely has nothing to do with the fusion of 'world' music), it is no longer possible to separate the thinking about, or practicing of, one kind or the other. A good grounding in one's own tradition seems to be a prerequisite, as well as keeping an openness for what is on the same level and has been developed, with the same determination, somewhere else. And so, this is the get-together between Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley - intuitive, and with an equal sense of resolution. Leaving aside the superficial contrast, this duo reveals, through the differentiation in the rhythm and structure of the sounds, a high degree of experience, that has been accumulated over many decades.

Translation: Paul Lytton

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