Unit Structures

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Unit Structures
Cecil Taylor-Unit Structures (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1966[1]
RecordedMay 19, 1966
StudioVan Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
GenreFree jazz
Length46:27 (Original LP)
56:38 (CD reissue)
LabelBlue Note
ProducerAlfred Lion
Cecil Taylor chronology
Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come
Unit Structures
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Penguin Guide to Jazz[3]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[4]

Unit Structures is a 1966 studio album by free jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, released by Blue Note Records.


Unit Structures was Taylor's first album on Blue Note. He released Conquistador! on the label in the same year, with a similar lineup.[5] Jesse Jarnow of Pitchfork described the album as "among the most intense of the early free jazz albums".[6]

The album was accompanied with an essay written by Cecil Taylor, titled Sound Structure of Subculture Becoming Major Breath/Naked Fire Gesture.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic gave the album five stars, with reviewer Scott Yanow opining that "Taylor's high-energy atonalism fit in well with the free jazz of the period but he was actually leading the way rather than being part of a movement... In fact, it could be safely argued that no jazz music of the era approached the ferocity and intensity of Cecil Taylor's".[2] The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded it three and a half stars (of a possible four), writing "Unit Structures is both as mathematically complex as its title suggests and as rich in colour and sound as the ensemble proposes, with the orchestrally varied sounds of the two bassists — Grimes a strong, elemental driving force, Silva tonally fugitive and mysterious — while Stevens and McIntyre add other hues and Lyons improvises with and against them."[3]

In 2008, Cokemachineglow included it on the "30 'Other' Albums of the 1960s" list.[8] In 2013, Spin included it on the "Top 100 Alternative Albums of the 1960s" list.[9] In 2017, Pitchfork placed it at number 197 on the "200 Best Albums of the 1960s" list.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Cecil Taylor.

2."Enter, Evening"11:06
3."Enter, Evening (Alternate Take)" (CD edition bonus track)10:11
4."Unit Structure/As of a Now/Section"17:47
5."Tales (8 Whisps)"7:14


Credits adapted from liner notes.[10]


  1. ^ "New Album Releases". Billboard. October 22, 1966. p. 66. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Unit Structures - Cecil Taylor". AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2004). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th ed.). Penguin Books.
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. US: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 189. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  5. ^ Morton, Brian (April 2004). "The Primer: Cecil Taylor". The Wire. No. 242. pp. 48–49.
  6. ^ a b "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s". Pitchfork. August 22, 2017. p. 1. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Bartlett 1995, p. 276.
  8. ^ "30 "Other" Albums of the 1960s (page 1 of 3)". Cokemachineglow. July 5, 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Top 100 Alternative Albums of the 1960s (page 22 of 101)". Spin. March 28, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Unit Structures (liner notes). Cecil Taylor. Blue Note. 1987. CDP 7 84237 2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External links[edit]