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CECIL TAYLOR: ALL THE NOTES (73')
GENRE: MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Directed by Christopher Felver



To say Taylor is larger than life is an understatement. His musicianship is formed by a deep intellectual underpinning. Yet he cuts a delightfully un-conventional stance throughout. In one of many unnervingly straight-to camera addresses ("interview" would falsely imply an exchange of views), he confesses his childhood love of Judy Garland's songs, and in other passages he is night-gowned and wool-hatted, resembling Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. In the film's most enduring image, he prepares for a night at the Blue Note club by pirouetting round his living room to Ella Fitzgerald, clad in knickerbockers, a silver jacket and bright orange baseball cap.

Young students at Mills College, where Taylor has a regular teaching gig, devise an avant garde 'free composition' under his generous tutelage. All The Notes is an intimate portrait of a consummate musician and sound thinker in triumphant maturity, bringing out Taylor's nobility, devotion and belief in a truth that can only be found after a lifetime of invention.

Director Christopher Felver has made it his mission to document firebrand movements and personalities from contemporary art, poetry and music before they die out unrecorded. He has made sterling films on the Black Mountaion School of Poetry, has biographed Beat meister Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Cage and boho wordsmiths on 1984's West Coast: Beats And Beyond. Last year he turned his attention to the media-shy, towering jazz figure of Cecil Taylor. Felver gets up close and personal with the pianist, gaining unprecedented access to Taylor's Brooklyn home/workplace, nailing his frequent stentorian pronouncements on life, art, music and childhood memories, as well as shadowing him to various concert engagements, teaching gigs in California, and a trip backstage to meet old friend Mal Waldron.