Cecil Taylor, The Avant-Garde Jazz Pianist, Dies 89

Cecil Percival Taylor (March 25, 1929 – April 5, 2018) was an American pianist and poet. Classically trained, Taylor is generally acknowledged as having been one of the pioneers of free jazz. His music is characterized by an extremely energetic, physical approach, producing complex improvised sounds, frequently involving tone clusters and intricate polyrhythms. His piano technique has been likened to percussion, for example described as “eighty-eight tuned drums” (referring to the number of keys on a standard piano). He has also been described as “like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings”.

Taylor moved to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in 1983. He died at his Brooklyn residence on April 5, 2018, at the age of 89. Cause of death is not known.

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