The Poetry of Cecil Taylor: A Biblio-Discography [2010-2014; revised and updated April 2018]
Corrections and additions welcome – please email email@example.com.
Items marked with an asterisks are film / video or sound recordings.
Sounds and Fury, Vol.1, No.1, 1965: 45-48
- Prints ‘Scroll No.1’ & ‘Scroll No.2 (see below); two poems entitled ‘Soul Being’s Gravity a Focal Point Touched Anoints the Darkened Heart’ and ‘Rain’.
Unit Structures (Blue Note, 1966)
- Liner Notes. ‘Sound Structure of Subculture Becoming Major Breath/Naked Fire Gesture.’
Arts/Canada, October, 1967, Issue no.113, “black”.
- Taylor participates in a panel discussion on “black” in art with Aldo Tambellini, Michael Snow, Ad Reinhart and others; part of his contribution includes the reading of an untitled poem (the transcription may include lineation errors). See Fred Moten’s discussion of this in his essay “The Case of Blackness” (2008): http://www.havenscenter.org/files/Moten.The%20Case%20of%20Blackness.pdf
Les Grandes Répétitions: Cecil Taylor – The Other Sides of the Tracks (Dir. Luc Ferrari, 1968) – recorded Paris, December 5-7, 1966 *
- Taylor recites a single poem, ‘Ambitus’.
Indent (2006: Black Lion/DA Music CD 877675-2 CD [recorded 1973])
- Liner notes. Two untitled poems (first published in ‘Sounds and Fury’ magazine, 1965; later re-published as ‘Scroll No. 1’ & ‘Scroll No. 2’ in Nielsen/Ramey 2006, pp.244-7 (see below)).
Spring of Two Blue-J’s (1973, Unit Core Records)
- Liner notes. ‘Aqoueh R-Oyo’ (also published as liner notes to ‘Air Above Mountains’ (see below)). “This is an adjunct chapter to Mysteries, a book to be published about methodological concepts of black music.”
- Facsimile (holograph) of handwritten poem by Taylor, described as an excerpt from ‘Word Placement’, and dedicated to Ben Webster.
Air Above Mountains (Buildings Within) (2002: Enja CD ENJ-3005 2 CD [recorded 1976])
- Liner notes. Reprint of ‘Aqoueh R-Oyo’ (see ‘Spring of Two Blue-J’s’, above).
Franklin Rosemont (ed.): Arsenal / Surrealist Subversion (No. 3, Spring 1976) (Chicago, Black Swan Press)
- Includes the Taylor poem ‘The Musician’ (as well as poetry by Joseph Jarman), republished in Rosemont/Kelley 2009 (see below).
Dark To Themselves (1990: Enja ENJA 2084 2 CD [recorded 1976])
- Liner notes. Untitled poem (later re-published as “Da” in Nielsen/Ramey 2006, pp.248-9 (see below)).
Embraced (1978: Pablo 2620 108 2LP [recorded 1977])
- Liner notes. ‘Choir’ and ‘Langage’ (later re-published in Nielsen/Ramey 2006, pp.250-2 (see below))
Imagine the Sound (film) (1981, released 1989) *
- Clips of Taylor throughout the film, including three piano performances, interview snippets a recitation of the poem ‘Star-Step’.
Garden (Hat Hut, 1981) *
- Short poem at beginning of ‘Elell’.
“Cecil”. Interview with Taylor by Whitney Balliett, first published in The New Yorker, 1986. Reprinted in Balliett, American Musicians II: Seventy-One Portraits in Jazz (Oxford University Press, 1996).
- Prints a short, untitled poem from 1983.
Tzotzil/Mummers/Tzotzil (Hat Hut, released 1988). *
- Music recorded in Paris in 1987: an ensemble including Carlos Ward & Leroy Jenkins. Poetry readings recorded in London in 1987 – these tracks also appear on Chinampas.
Chinampas (1991: Leo CD LR 153 CD [recorded 1987]) *
- Taylor reads his poetry, sometimes overdubbed, with minimal accompaniment on tympani and hand percussion.
In Florescence (A & M Records, 1990) *
- Short fragments of poetry on various tracks, recorded a few months after the trio recordings with which they are overdubbed.
- Track 1 – J
- Track 3 – Saita
- Track 6 – Ell Moving Track
- Track 7 – Sirenes 1 3
- Track 8 – Charles and Thee
- Track 9 – Morning of Departure
- Track 11 – Leaf Taken Horn
- Track 12 - Chal Chuiatlichue Goddess Of Green Flowing Waters
Art Ensemble of Chicago with Cecil Taylor, Dreaming of the Masters, Vol.2: Thelonious Sphere Monk (1990) *
- Taylor recites poetry on ‘Intro to Fifteen’.
Barcelona 18/02/1991 video – TV broadcast *
- The exact source of this video is uncertain – it was found online and the online sessionographies do not provide exact further details. It was presumably broadcast on Spanish TV, as it is listed as ‘Barcelona 18/02/1991’ and there are Spanish subtitles when Taylor speaks. It includes an interview with Taylor, a solo piano performance, and some poetry.
Complicité (2001: Victo CD [recorded 2000]) *
- Solo piano recital. Taylor reads poetry at the start of ‘Meaning’.
Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and Tony Oxley (2002: Victo CD)
- Untitled prose-poetic liner notes by Taylor.
The Jazz Masterclass Series from NYU: Cecil Taylor (2007: Artists House Foundation Ahmc1 DVD [recorded 2004]) *
- Various interviews with Taylor; Taylor plays two solo piano pieces and reads two poems, and reads another poem along with a student ensemble (only part of this performance is shown).
Teatro Comunale, Bologna, Italy. ‘Angelica - Concerti Contemporanei’ Festival.
October 11, 2007. Taylor duo with Tony Oxley. (Bootleg) *
October 12, 2007. Taylor solo + with Anthony Braxton & William Parker. (Bootleg) *
Muziekcentrum de Bijloke - Ghent, Belgium, February 28, 2008. Recorded at the Blue Note Festival. *
Highline Ballroom, NYC, August 29th, 2008. Solo Concert entitled ‘Words Within Music: Poems and Piano.’ (Bootleg) *
- Taylor reads one poem at the end of the concert.
“Diction and Contra-Diction”: Cecil Taylor and Amiri Baraka. Barcelona. 16th July, 2010. (Bootleg) *
- This event contained a solo piano performance by Taylor and separate poetry readings by Baraka and Taylor, concluding with a collaboration in which Baraka read while Taylor vocalised off-mic and plucked the piano strings.
Solo - Duo - Poetry - Cecil Taylor + Pauline Oliveros (2008: EMPAC, DVD) *
- Cecil Taylor and Pauline Oliveros recorded live October 5, 2008 at the opening of EMPAC in Troy, NY. 32 minutes of Taylor solo, 16 minutes of Oliveros solo, 22 minutes of Taylor/Oliveros duo. Includes Floating gardens: The Poetry of Cecil Taylor (75 minutes) – footage of a reading by Taylor.
Rotterdam, September 26th 2009. *
- Taylor duo with Tony Oxley.
Ailanthus/ Altissima (2009: Triple Point Records 2LP)
- Limited edition 2LP set of Taylor/Oxley duos, recorded live at The Village Vanguard, NYC, November 2008. The package includes paintings by Oxley and holograph reproductions of poetry by Taylor.
Cecil Taylor Art Corporation (now defunct website). March 2011.
- Heat in Room
- Extasis (Two poems written in 2008).
Printings in Anthologies
Lange, Art & Mackey, Nathaniel, eds. Moment’s Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose. (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1993)
- Contains ‘Garden’ by Taylor.
Lash, Dominic, The Poetry of Cecil Taylor: A Selection (privately assembled, unpublished PDF document, April 2009)
A: sleeve notes
- Sound Structure of Subculture Becoming Major Breath/Naked Fire Gesture (see Unit Structures above)
- Scroll No. 1
- Scroll No. 2
- -Aqoueh R-Oyo
B: anthologized pieces
- from Chinampas: # 5’04 (transcription by Fred Moten)
Nielsen, Aldon Lynn & Ramey, Lauri, eds. Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry by African Americans. (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2006)
- Anthology containing several poems by Taylor: ‘Scroll No. 1’, ‘Scroll No.2’ (originally from ‘Indent’, 1973), ‘Da’ (originally from ‘Dark to Themselves’, 1976), ‘Choir’ and ‘Langage’ (originally from ‘Embraced’, 1978).
Rosemont, Franklin/ Kelley, Robin D.G. (eds.) – Black, Brown & Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora (University of Texas Press, 2009), pp.274-6
- Anthology. Section 7, ‘Surrealism, Black Power, Black Arts’, includes the Taylor poem ‘The Musician’ (originally published in ‘Arsenal/ Surrealist Subversion’ (ed. Franklin Rosemont) (No. 3, Spring 1976 (Chicago, Black Swan Press)).