Cecil Taylor Will Play a Second Concert at the Whitney

Cecil Taylor performing at the Whitney Museum on April 14. ©PAULA COURT

Cecil Taylor performing at the Whitney Museum on April 14.


The surprises just keep coming.

Last Thursday night, the free jazz legend Cecil Taylor was scheduled to play a rare set, with percussionist Tony Oxley and dancer Min Tanaka, in New York at the Whitney Museum, which is hosting a show devoted to Taylor’s work through April 24. As a sold-out crowd waited on the museum’s fifth floor, Jay Sanders, the Whitney curator who helped organize the exhibition, came on stage and announced that the evening would include not one but two performances—the first by Taylor, Oxley, and Tanaka, the second by group called the New Unit, which ended up being a raucous band that included saxophones, cello, bass, and quite a bit more. It was a glorious two-set affair—elegant and mysterious in the first half, wild and electric in the second half. Thrilling.

That was supposed to be the only appearance during the run of the show by Taylor, who is 87, but this morning a Whitney press rep told me that another show has been scheduled, for this Saturday, April 23. “It was Cecil’s desire to do the second concert, and of course we want to give more people an opportunity to see him during this landmark exhibition and residency,” the rep said.

Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for an 8:30 p.m. show. Tickets should be available on the museum’s website by 10:30 a.m. today, and judging by the response last time, it would be wise to book quickly.

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