Cecil Taylor: Love for Sale (1959) 1998

Love for Sale

Track list:

01. Get Out Of Town
02. I Love Paris
03. Love For Sale
04. Little Lees (Louise)
05. Matie’s Trophies (Motystrophe)
+bonus track [not on original LP]
06. Carol/Three Points


Ted Curson – trumpet (#4-6);
Bill Barron – tenor sax (#4-6);
Cecil Taylor – piano;
Buell Neidlinger – bass;
Dennis Charles – drums

Recorded: Nola Studios, New York, New York; April 15, 1959.

Label: United Artists
UAS 5046

Blue Note
CDP 94107 [1998]

Producer: Tom Wilson
Recording Engineer: Lewis Merritt

Original photo & cover design: Stephen Hass studio

Mastered by: Ron McMaster

Re-issue Producer [1998]: Michael Cuscuna
Re-design: Patrick Rogues

#1-5 originally issued as United Artists UAS 5046
#6 originally issued on Blue Note BNLA 458


This may be the straightest record Cecil Taylor ever recorded, but it is far from uninspiring.

Despite its hopelessly gauche cover — one can only presume Taylor had no say-so in the choice of artwork used — Taylor’s approach to three Cole Porter tunes with a trio and three of his own with a quintet is a lively combination, and one which, in lieu of his later work, reveals the construction of his system of improvisation better than his later records do when he is playing from the middle of it.

Accompanied by Dennis Charles on drums and Buell Neidlinger on bass, Taylor dives deep into Porter’s “I Love Paris,” a shifty little pop song.

Taylor goes head to head with Neidlinger in a contrapuntal statement of the melody — illustrated by chord changes which are extrapolated from the melodic sequence — against harmony before actually flowing into the main theme of the tune for a moment before kicking the rhythm section loose and treating the tune percussively, almost as if it were a series of rhythm changes instead of harmonic ones.

On the title track it’s much the same, except Taylor’s tenderness shines through in his lilting right hand in the middle as he trades fours with Charles.

There’s a wonderful cut-time tempo here, and Taylor starts building scales harmonically in his solo only to answer them with the melody and original harmony.

With his own three tunes, with trumpeter Ted Curson and saxophonist Bill Barron added to the fray, Taylor takes more chances.

On “Little Lees (Louise),” he scores in an elaborate melody that is played without dissonance by the horn section as he and Neidlinger play entirely in counterpoint.

But here, too, there is a sublime lyricism at work; there are no extra notes or chords, and everything falls in line with the chromatic architecture Taylor composes with.

“Maities Trophie” is Taylor ringing in a blues jam à la Ellington — or at least his version of Ellington.

The solos by Curson and Barron are tight, narrative, and bordering on swing, but all that’s taken care of by Taylor’s solo.

Love for Sale is a delightful anomaly in Cecil Taylor’s long career.
~Thom Jurek[]