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Cecil Taylor Tells Prize Money Thief Noel Muir to 'Die' After Trial

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Feb 18, 2016 04:24 PM EST
Cecil Taylor Tells Prize Money Thief Noel Muir to 'Die' After Trial An upright piano is on display with its actions revealed during 'It's All About Piano!' festival at the The Institut Francais on March 22, 2013 in London, England. The festival is a collaboration from French Music Office to celebrate the piano with recitals from classical to jazz, film screenings, children's activities, workshops and cinema screenings exploring the musical instrument. (Photo : Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images)

Perhaps one of the largest figures in jazz still living today, Cecil Taylor was scammed out of half a million dollars in 2013 when his Kyoto Prize money went to a fake organization called The Cecil Taylor Foundation. The mastermind, Noel Muir, could face 15 years in prison if indicted.

Mr. Taylor is an archetype of free-form jazz and has been a towering figure in the genre since his youth. Having played with Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and more, the 86-year-old pianist was awarded the Kyoto Prize for his contributions to the "scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of mankind."

But as the media has proven, Mr. Taylor is a man of few words. When asked what he would like to say to Muir, who befriended Taylor when contracted to work on a brownstone next to the musician's apartment, Taylor remained minimal, uttering one word: "Die."

Yes, Cecil Taylor, a world-leading jazzer, told his robber to die in a talk with the press. He also added, "He had no right to do this ... he's not a spiritual man, he'll get what he deserves."

Taylor had met Muir through a mutual friend when Muir was working on said brownstone. Apparently the friendship took off to such a degree that Taylor asked Muir to accompany him to the awards ceremony.

When Muir was asked where the prize money should be deposited, Muir instructed officials to place it into a fake account that ultimately benefitted Muir and his company alone.

As of late, Muir has paid back $200,000 of the money that he swindled. Still, the courts are pressing the verdict that Muir is to pay back Taylor in full, with $292,000 still remaining to be reciprocated.

A most unfortunate circumstance, we hope the issue will resolve itself after the issue goes to court in March.

Here's Cecil for your pleasure below.

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TagsCecil Taylor, Noel Muir

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