Cecil Taylor/Marilyn Crispell/Paul Plimley & John Oswald Complicite

The discs comprise the entire closing celebration of the 2000 Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. Complicite can be seen as a refutation of the dissing Mr. Taylor received at the hands of Branford Marsalis in the last episode of Ken Burns' Jazz. Taylor, lest we forget, and Burns certainly did, pioneered the intersection of jazz and European improvisation, classical forms and out and out noise. What resulted was some of the 20th century's most important music, counting Glenn Gould as a major fan. The other three artists here follow along Taylor's path, each in their own fashion. Oswald and Plimley are two of Canada's great improvisers - Oswald in particular has adapted Taylor's speed and sense of coloration to his sax style. He and Plimley start slowly, but by mid-disc they are nimbly playing off one another's fractured phrases. Victoriaville has been a champion of Crispell over the years, and she shows why. Her set contains an amazing vocabulary of musical notions, featuring lots of abstract melodic inventions. She is in particularly fine form on her "Triplos" suite. Taylor's disc is a bit of a letdown. Into his 70s now, he's been so thoroughly recorded that it's hard for him to hit the same heights as he once did. While he plays with a lifetime of experience, true Taylor-philes could name a dozen solo sets better than this comparatively sluggish one. Not that he stunk out the joint, it just sounds like he wasn't completely "on" this evening. There are many thought provoking moments throughout the three discs, but the edge goes to Crispell's disc. (Victo)