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Cecil Taylor and Gary Giddins: The long-ago night I interviewed them on the radio / Coffeeshop Conversations @ Artichoke Music #308

By TOM D'ANTONI // One night in March of 1990, I did a phoner on the radio with Cecil Taylor and Gary Giddins, both giants. Taylor for his music, Giddins for his music journalism and I was along for the ride.

This is a special episode of Coffeeshop Conversations @ Artichoke Music and one in a series of radio interviews I did thirty years ago.
Still listening or reading? I’m grateful.

I was doing a talk show for the American Radio Network when radio networks meant something. And it was before the internet too, in the days of newspapers and pay phones.

I decided that I would interview people who I had always wanted to talk to. One of them was pianist/composer Cecil Taylor. He was world famous and little-known because of how his music sounded.

Taylor was known as being as ferocious as his music, at least that’s what I heard.

I was afraid he was going to eat me for lunch, so I used the weight of a commercial network radio show as leverage and asked Gary Giddins,probably the top Jazz Journalist in the world, in English anyway, and a friend of Taylor’s if he would join Taylor and I in a one hour live intereview. He said yes.

And then I asked Taylor. Good move. He said yes, too.

You’re about to hear the result. Please excuse the crappy audio. It’s an air check and the gear was pretty bad. Suggest you use headphones. You won’t be sorry.

I’ve left in the commercials and breaks to mark the place in time when this occurred. It was March third 1990 in Baltimore, Maryland in the studio of the American Radio Network. And yes, the following was my theme music.

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Hi Tom, wonderful interview - thanks for sharing this. Cecil was very engaging and it was interesting to listen to him speak. His music is astonishing. I sent the link to Gary Giddins and he really enjoyed hearing this again.
Interesting to


Tom, so glad you posted this. I recall the broadcast, of course, but I had forgotten how happy CT was that day, so cheerful and top-of-the-world, not his usual mode. Love the excerpt from Solo that you opened the show with, too. What joy to live in the time of Cecil Taylor. Regards, Gary Giddins


Tom: Thank you for posting this! The explanation of Taylor of "order of construction" and time at about 33 minutes is wonderful! I'm glad to see that Gary Giddens posted a response and obviously was delighted in rehearing the interview. Best to you.

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