Location: Floor Five, Neil Bluhm Family Galleries
The program for Open Plan: Cecil Taylor continues with two performances by poets A.B. Spellman and Anne Waldman followed by a duo with Min Tanaka and Tony Oxley in celebration of Cecil Taylor’s lifelong engagement with poetry and the spoken word.
About the program
Former Deputy Director of the National Endowment for the Arts and a founding member of the Black Arts Movement, A.B. Spellman is a legendary jazz critic, writer, and poet. His first full-length book, Four Lives in the Bebop Business (1966), chronicles the lives of Ornette Coleman, Herbie Nichols, Jackie McLean and Cecil Taylor, and remains one of the greatest texts on modern jazz.
A prominent member of the Beat generation of poets and author of more than forty books of poetry, Anne Waldman is co-founder (with Allen Ginsberg) of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She and Taylor have appeared on stage together at several cross-disciplinary events including the 1991 Tucson Poetry Festival and a 1994 conference at Naropa Institute on art, music, and poetry. She is joined at the Whitney by her nephew, Devin Brahja Waldman, jazz saxophonist and the co-director of Fast Speaking Music, a poetry and music label in New York City.
Min Tanaka is a renowned Japanese dancer and choreographer whose unique style incorporates a variety of movement techniques and draws consistent inspiration from changes in the natural world. Taylor’s relationship with Tanaka is one of mutual admiration and influence. After performing together across Japan in the late 1980s, they collaborated on a site-specific performance on Mercer Street for the Guggenheim Museum (1994) and more recently performed together at a ceremony recognizing Taylor’s receipt of the 2013 Kyoto Prize.
Tony Oxley is a celebrated drummer and pioneer of British free-jazz. He first performed with Cecil Taylor in 1988 as a duet, recording Leaf Palm Hand for the German label FMP, before appearing on several albums as the Feel Trio (1989–1990) with Taylor and bassist William Parker. Taylor and Oxley have since collaborated on several live improvisation albums including Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley (Les Disques Victo, 2002) and the double LP Ailanthus/Altissima (Triple Point Records, 2008).
Free with Museum admission. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of guaranteed seats are available for advance purchase; tickets include admission to the galleries.
Anne Waldman is a poet, performer, professor, editor and cultural activist. She is recognized for her unique modal structures incorporating sprechstimme and rhythmic verbal patterning and performs all over the world. She is the author of over forty books of poetry, including the book-length hybrid narrative poem Manatee/Humanity (Penguin Poets 2009), and the feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House, 2011) which is the winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. Other recent books include the forthcoming Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born (Coffee House Press, 2016), Jaguar Harmonics (Post-Apollo Press, 2014), Gossamurmur, (Penguin Poets, 2013) and Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House, 2014), co-edited with Laura Wright. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013–14) and is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She has recently received a long-life achievement award by the Before Columbus Foundation (2015). She has collaborated with numerous visual artists, including Elizabeth Murray, Richard Tuttle, Kiki Smith, Donna Dennis, Pamela Lawton, Pat Steir and Alexis Myre. CRY STALL GAZE a collaboration with Pat Steir was recently published by the Brodsky Center at Rutgers. Waldman has also worked on recent performance projects with Meredith Monk, choreographer Douglas Dunn, musicians Thurston Moore and Ha-Yang Kim and composer David T.Little. She founded the poetry and music recording label and music consortium: Fast Speaking Music with musicians Ambrose Bye and Devin Brahja Waldman, with whom she also collaborates. Recent CDS include Comes Through in the Call Hold, and Jaguar Harmonics. Publishers Weekly has deemed Waldman "a counter cultural giant." She is a founder with Allen Ginsberg of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and is the Artistic Director of its celebrated Summer Writing Program. She has know Cecil Taylor’s work since childhood, growing up in Greenwich Village, has hosted him at the Kerouac School and is honored to be saluting him for this auspicious Whitney tribute.