“The first thing you saw on the left side of her head was these gardenias,” Taylor recalled. “The gloves, white, came above her elbow. The body all in white. The fur flowing. And when she started to sing, the right elbow would be bent, and the left leg dipped. And I said, ‘Whoa.’ And the next day I said to myself in my kitchen, ‘What that woman did to me, if I ever grow up, that’s what I’d like to do to the audience.'”
For more than 60 years onstage, Cecil Taylor did just that. “When you play, when you perform, it might be for the last time,” he said. “So you got to do it.