Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cecil Taylor/Tony Oxley @ Vanguard 7/18/08

This is one of those Village Vanguard runs where it's likely you can get a res the day before for the 9pm show and it's easier to get one for the 11pm. I thought I'd probably be heading uptown early, so I opted for just the 11pm. When I got there, I saw that a lot of the 9pm patrons stayed for an additional $10 cover, no minimum.

It was great. These guys are probably over 70 and they still got it. It took them a little effort to get up to the stage, but once there they dazzled. It started a little late, around 11:15-20 and ended at around 12:10.

It was awesome. It seemed Cecil was improvising , but he had music papers with him that he kept shuffling and pulling something out of a big stack. I could seem them from where I was sitting and it looked like a bunch of scribbles, or an interesting sketch. I then realized that's what's happening a lot when I think they are improvising, but they have music in front of them. I've noticed the artists often refer to them as "charts" and not music. They are just some kind of map to what's going on with lots of room to stretch out. These looked more like "sketches" than "charts", with even more room to stretch out. Oxley just played it as he felt it, which is easier for a drummer, especially a well-seasoned drummer like him.

I hadn't hear of Tony Oxley, but he's been around. I was intrigued by his setup, which you can get an idea of in the picture on his wikipedia page. He has what kind of looks like a giant cowbell, but not exactly. He's also got some interesting drums and a unique setup. It looks like it's all held together by some kind of tape.

Here's a good review of the first set on Tues from the NY Times.

I was mesmerized and enjoyed the whole set. It was well-received by all and got lots of applause after each piece. Taylor was awesome and had some beautiful slower parts as well as an intense playing. Both of them were fun to watch.

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