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Looking Ahead

Cecil TaylorAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Price: $12.58 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ojc
  • ASIN: B000000YP6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,660 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Luyah! The Glorious Step
2. African Violets
3. Of What
4. Wallering
5. Toll
6. Excursion On A Wobbly Rail

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glancing Back, LOOKING AHEAD. June 14, 2005
Format:Audio CD
For those who think they know the ongoing saga of the
master pianist Cecil Taylor, the glories of LOOKING AHEAD
may pose quite an intriguing chapter to discover, and quite
the surprise. Among Taylor's earliest recordings, the late
1950s album finds the acclaimed freewheeler just as
formidable in "traditional" settings as he is stretching
them into the unknown. Rather than concern yourself
with which Taylor is better, put aside such foolishness,
and enjoy this brisk package of robust swing, abundantly
fueled by other things.

The quartet Taylor helms here includes bassist Buell
Neidlinger and drummer Dennis Charles, familiar to
anyone recalling the pianist's first recordings with
soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. Here, however, the
quartet's fourth member is vibraphonist Earl Griffith,
whose wonderfully-staccato style is a perfect complement
to Taylor's already-whirling approach. While a listen
to this album make stir some to wonder how Cecil Taylor
and vibes wizard Walt Dickerson would sound together,
there is no denying the particular joy of Griffith's
highly personal sound.

Thus, LOOKING AHEAD is a superb showcase, standing alone
in the Taylor canon. Produced by acclaimed writer Nat
Hentoff (whose exceptional liner notes remind us that
critical analysis can be insightful and provocative in
responsible hands), the pianist's only album for
Contemporary Records more than makes the label live
up to its name!

The compositions are a delight, from the gospel shout
of "Luyah!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free form at its best January 26, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is a great record, must be the finest available in the free form idiom. All four players are magnificent, not least the bassist Buell Neidlinger.
This is not really difficult music to listen to either. Just listen to the opening track; this is hard swinging improvised music of rare quality.
This is fascinating music. What an exciting pianist Taylor was (and still is)!
The sound quality is absolutely splendid. Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best of Taylor's early work. June 21, 2005
Format:Audio CD
In my assessment the best example of Cecil Taylor's early material, "Looking Ahead!" finds Cecil Taylor in transition-- his rhythm section (bassist Buell Neidlinger and drummer Dennis Charles) has developed a more sympathetic ear to what he was trying to accomplish (at this point, something very different from where he'd end up) and vibraharpist Earl Griffith puts forth a fine counterpoint to Taylor's piano.

Musically, this is a unique record in Taylor's catalog, and it sits somewhere closer to the innovations of Ornette Coleman than to his later works-- the rhythm section is in an adventerous bop vein-- both occasionally leave behind their foundations for a more abstract approach, but largely maintenance of swing is essential. Taylor and Griffith are largely focused on intertwining lines-- Taylor in fact plays more single-note runs than I've heard anywhere else in his catalog to foil Griffith well. Earl Griffith is a bit of the ace in the hole for Taylor-- I have no idea where this guy went, but his playing shows an unusual sensitivity for his instrument and a fine understanding of Taylor's music. There is a space, an openness, an arythmic and polytonal approach that allows room for the musicians to work-- check Taylor's solo and the traded figures with Charles on "Excursions on a Wobbly Rail", the album's standout, to get a good feel for this. Taylor's future is laid out, but its definitely a growth rather than the full-on assault his later work would be. Also pointing closer to the future is "Of What", the densest song where, like in Taylor's later work, the quartet seems to operate as one instrument, interwining and voices rising and falling between each other.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embryonic journey February 3, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is weird. On one hand, you have Cecil Taylor's inimitable piano approach, not yet fully developed but definitely on the way. On the other hand, you have a pretty conventional bop rhythm section - straight-ahead bop drumming, walking bass, and vibraphone. The rhythm section anchors Taylor, in both the good and bad senses of the word.
My sense? If you're already into Cecil Taylor, it's a worthwhile addition to your collection. But if you're new to Cecil Taylor, start with one of his later solo piano albums and get used to him first.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By D. Jobe
Format:Audio CD
Funny thing, this...
I mean, you EXPECT the unexpected for Cecil, but the expected unexpectedly? Hardly. For the uninitiated, begin HERE, track 1, right off the bat it's Ellington as a mental patient, swinging to an unswung beat as the band takes different kinds of dope, each swinging erratically but damn if it all MAKES SENSE!
Excursions on a Wobbly Rail see, Cecil wasn't trying to re-invent jazz, he was trying to ADVANCE it (see first album title, see this album title). So you don't drop what you've learned, you lean on it... you keep the soul but change the mind, hell it was time! Post-bop that most stopped, making Cecil flee to the drudgery of dishwashing not long after this. But HERE is what he heard, and you can still hear it, swaying like willow tree its branches all together, but all separate to a different drum. Don't get it? Then get it, as in pick it up. Jazz still ain't caught up yet...
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