Cecil Taylor and Marilyn Crispell: the Key Players

Cecil Taylor
Dagmar Gebers
Cecil Taylor

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Taylor plays on Friday, Oct. 24, at Grace Cathedral, 8 p.m., $30-$50; Crispell plays on Sunday, Oct. 26, at Florence Gould Theatre, 2 p.m., $30. www.sfjazz.org.
Grace Cathedral and Florence Gould Theatre

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At 78, Cecil Taylor is the granddaddy of avant-garde jazz piano. He first presented the basic concepts of so-called free improvisation nearly five decades ago by fusing volcanic energy with geometrical symmetry. The pianist bangs out a blur of fleet-fingered notes, overlays multiple chords with unusual voicings, and atomizes rhythm patterns while retaining the complex compositional integrity found in classical music. Though deeply influenced by Taylor early on, pianist Marilyn Crispell now performs in a quieter style that balances lyrical melodies with tension-rich arrangements and flashes of tumbling propulsion. Her scrupulous restraint wonderfully complements Taylor's irrepressible eruptions.

 
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