UPDATE: March 1st, 2016 – Complete Mosaic Booklet added
Jumpin’ Punkins (Take 4)
Jumpin’ Punkins (Take 6
The amazing box set cover photo, which first aroused my interest, is a still from the short stint by Taylor, Neidlinger, Shepp and Charles as the on-stage musicians in Freddie Redd’s NY stage play The Connection, recruited to cover for Redd and Mclean while they were away making the Shirley Clarke film version of The Connection, Enjoy the trailer here, Jackie Mclean “in the flesh”:
The cover has little to do with the music in the box set, however, as a photographic composition, yeah, the Rule of Thirds rules. Shepp looks seriously cool, as does Neidlinger, whilst Taylor faces away from the audience, enigmatically, considering it is his box set.
Apparently they over-ran all the musical slots in the stage play and caused mayhem. Sister Salvation by Cecil Taylor? God, I’d love to hear it. It’s a shame no recordings appear to have been made of this line-up in The Connection. I had always understood Tina Brooks understudied for McLean, the Howard McGhee alternative Connection is tops. (Some of Dexter Gordon’s west coast staging of The Connection appear on his Blue Note “Dexter Calling”).
Not strictly “vintage” (this dated 1989), Mosaic box sets should be on every collectors wish list. Engineered by Bob d’Orleans, who I assume is the source of the squiggle in the runout at 2 o’clock, it sounds very acceptable – especially the stereo is probably another factor in favour of the Mosaic (which was apparently re-mapped by the Mosaic engineers and differs from the original Candid mix) .
Any Mosaic vinyl box set you want is likely out of print, so, inevitably, prices are on the high side. Their most sought after box sets are the Miles Davis “Complete’s”, which run to thousands of dollars. Taylor is an acquired taste so I was surprised by the premium prices it attracts. (Note the one aberrant bid at $700.A moment of madness? Money-laundering? These things happen)
Taylor’s original Candids are a conundrum. They are both rare and inexpensive. Rare because not many people bought them at the time, and inexpensive because still not many people want to buy them today.
The box set however offers a completely different take – many takes. It is an interesting experience to be in the shoes of the recording engineer. False starts, alternate takes, the different way an improvisation develops, the mood and pace changes. How does Take 4 work better than Take 6? You are thrown into the studio role, almost as a participant. I never thought I would say this but I am enjoying this set. I’ll leave you with the producers dilemma. Jumpin’ Punkins: Take 4, or Take 6?
Music is music, and words are words. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the right words to communicate about music. Pehaps that is why in Discogs so many record collectors obsess over historical recording details but hardly anyone will write a word in the review section about the music. Isn’t that what it’s all about, the music? I recommend you try, it is a cathartic and enriching experience.
However, be wary. There are some Cecil fans that don’t believe there are other legitimate points of view – . My own sentiment is that Cecil is impenetrable, “anti-music”. If the attributes normally associated with music appear: melody, rhythm and harmony, they are quickly extinguished. What’s left is unclassifiable. As one critic wrote: “Some people ask me, is Cecil Taylor “Jazz”? I say, wrong question. The right question is , is it music? “.
UPDATE March 1, 2016: The Complete Mosaic Booklet
It is seventeen pages long, the text should be readable, but I haven’t spent too long perfecting the geometry, it’s just as you might find it in real life turning the pages. WordPress is having some problem loading each of the pages, may need some correction when it has settled down on their servers.