Amazon.com Widgets

Recent Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Play Blue

Read "Play Blue" reviewed by

Pianist Paul Bley, born in 1932, began his jazz career in the 1950's, working with every one from saxophonists Charlie Parker, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, and Ornette Coleman, as well as clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre and trumpeter Chet Baker, and more legends of the time than can be listed here. He has, under his own name, made over a hundred recordings, in every style. The most often mentioned of these scores of recordings are two solo piano sets for ECM Records, 1972's Open, To Love and Solo In Mondsee, recorded in 2001 and released in 2007. The former is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley / Franz Koglmann / Gary Peacock: Annette

Read "Annette" reviewed by

Those familiar with the music of Paul Bley, as well as Annette Peacock--after whom this album is named, and whose compositions are featured--will recall the nervy sense of creativity that flowed through their veins and music. In fact, the manner in which Peacock's work is described also fits Bley; both play music that is austere, exacting, somewhat laconic, minimalist and always wildly individual, which is what makes it so sensual, singular and utterly memorable. And while Bley's music has always been instrumental in nature, Peacock's was defined not just by the primal highs and lows of her voice, but also ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Barrage

Read "Barrage" reviewed by

At times circumstance conspires to hide a masterpiece: it may be the artist's lack of reputation; perhaps it doesn't resemble his more typical works or it's just overshadowed by more prominent or better promoted music. Paul Bley's Barrage is such a work. Produced in 1964 when most of the band was unknown, it's a singularly non-lyrical and non-spacious work by a pianist celebrated for those qualities; further, it was issued in the midst of Coltrane and Ayler's greatest statements. Nonetheless, it's one of the essential statements of free jazz, a necessary update on the music Bley played with Ornette Coleman ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Barrage

Read "Barrage" reviewed by

Music performed by Paul Bley is always an event of great import--no matter where or when, or in what context it is performed. But with Barrage this was the roaring '60s. Charlie Parker, who had set the world on fire, had left a meteoric legacy and in the after-burn came the smoldering avant-garde. Ornette Coleman may have defined part of the leading edge of the harmolodic music of the day, but it was the rhythmic invention that bound the melody. Eric Dolphy and Don Cherry unlocked the rhythmic secrets that Parker had invented and a few--like Carla and Paul Bley, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Barrage

Read "Barrage" reviewed by

Recorded a year earlier than the previous ESP re-released Paul Bley Trio session, Closer (ESP Disk, 2008), Barrage takes an approach that tends toward the frenetic. In fact, judging from the very beginning of the record when the trumpet and sax synchronize in a group of short phrase spurts ("Batterie"), the music seems to deconstruct bebop, go on diverse tangents and then conclude in a synchronous reprise. Such a pattern exists throughout all of the pieces on the record.

The intensity of the rapid-fire pace of bebop sticks around. Even when pianist Bley assumes the lead, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley Quintet: Barrage

Read "Barrage" reviewed by

Pianist Paul Bley recorded two albums for ESP Disk. The first was Barrage in 1964, the second was Closer in 1965. On the first Bley used Marshall Allen (alto sax), Dewey Johnson (trumpet), Eddie Gomez (bass) and Milford Graves (percussion). The latter was a more intimate outing with Steve Swallow (bass) and Barry Altschul (percussion). If there was a common thread besides Bley, it was the use of compositions by Carla Bley. Barrage was devoted completely to her music and Closer featured seven of her tunes out of the ten on the record.

Allen and Johnson came in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: About Time

Read "About Time" reviewed by

Pianist Paul Bley has set many milestones along his illustrious career, taking the piano on undiscovered paths and fermenting his art with unbridled imagination. Risk has never daunted him, and even as he takes it, he keeps logic in lockstep.

He is as much at home in avant-garde and free explorations as he is in giving the mainstream a new sparkle, and for a time, even tinkering with electronics. The call to experiment is ever present, wrapped compactly into the history of jazz.

About Time is a solo recording. The pianist lures the listener into his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley Trio: Closer

Read "Closer" reviewed by

Pianist Paul Bley is an innovator whose imagination eclipses the norm. He never wavers from a challenge and there is always an air of expectancy each time Bley sits at the piano. He is comfortable in any setting and his music has been shaped by several peers. Among them were Sonny Rollins, Carla Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, Charles Mingus, Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman.

In the final analysis, however, it is his vision that propels the music forward. He fills it with vigor and dynamism, with space and lyricism; nothing is out of focus, every challenge is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii featuring Paul Bley: Something About Water

Read "Something About Water" reviewed by

Pianist Paul Bley was one of pianist Satoko Fujii's teachers at the New England Conservatory of Music, which she attended on scholarship in 1993. Upon attaining her Graduate Diploma in Jazz Performance, she recorded the delicately beautiful and mysterious Something About Water (Libra, 1996), that has Bley playing with her on eight of the eleven tracks of free improvisation. While this release can be considered her debut recording, it is a fully mature effort where teacher and student interact as equals--so much so that it is impossible to tell who is playing which part, or even whose ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Closer

Read "Closer" reviewed by

Piano music has various personalities. It can be extroverted, jamming and far-reaching. It can be self-referential and have form that evolves only as it is played. It can be rigorously confined to form and fit well within conventional or traditional labels that have been assigned to it. Or it can be introverted and mindful, and beg to be embraced while being embracing.

The piano art of Paul Bley with his trio is the latter. This is more than evident on the ESP Disk re-release Closer. These brief pieces were recorded in 1965.

ESP has chosen the right record to reissue ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Solo In Mondsee

Read "Solo In Mondsee" reviewed by

The body may feel a bit tired, but the resolute, searching mind, is still very much intact; as sharp as an eagle's eye and as terrifying as a boxer's aim. Pianist Paul Bley has been searching relentlessly for half a century, yet his playing remains as fresh as spring water. His phrases are still as temperamental and intentionally destabilizing as they were in his younger years. It has always been like that with the Montreal-born giant; the music flowing like a river, breaking through obstacles, unstoppable and ever-changing.Bley is one of that rare breed of artist for whom ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Paul Bley/Archie Shepp/Bill Dixon/Cecil Taylor: Imagine the Sound

Read "Paul Bley/Archie Shepp/Bill Dixon/Cecil Taylor: Imagine the Sound"

Paul Bley/Archie Shepp/Bill Dixon/Cecil Taylor Imagine the Sound Films We Like 1981/2007

The state of jazz in America in 1981 has remained a sort of lost history, in no small part due to the resounding indifference met by a brilliant film of the same year: Imagine the Sound. Now, with the Ron Mann-directed documentary reissued on DVD for the first time, this overshadowed period can reenter the spotlight to educate, enlighten and entertain those who either missed it the first time around or who weren't around to experience it first-hand.

Visually remastered and sonically ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Solo in Mondsee

Read "Solo in Mondsee" reviewed by

Paul Bley will be seventy-five in November, 2007 and has been recording for over fifty years, taking part in every revolution in jazz since 1950. Famously competitive and a tireless introspector, Bley is recognizable not so much by a particular style, but by his restless attitude and intensity, and perhaps the solidity of each note played. The wonderful and quite entrancing Solo in Mondsee is the result of Bley's relationship with the ECM label, which goes back almost to its inception with the album Paul Bley With Gary Peacock (ECM, 1970) and his solo album, Open, to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley: Solo in Mondsee

Read "Solo in Mondsee" reviewed by

It's been thirty-five years since pianist Paul Bley released Open, to love (ECM, 1972), an early classic of the then-nascent German record label. While Keith Jarrett's Facing You, from the same year, would go on to generate greater acclaim for the young pianist, listening to these two discs side-by-side reveals Bley's unmistakable influence. Despite ongoing critical acclaim throughout the ensuing years, Bley has never achieved Jarrett's degree of popular or financial success.

While Jarrett packs houses with his longstanding Standards Trio and a recent return to solo performance, Bley has chosen a more risk-laden path. His infrequent recordings for ECM ...



Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Community Members

Join our growing community of
writers, musicians, visual artists and advocates.

Martin Longley

Contributor

Martin Longley Concert/Festival Reviewer

Join Us Today!

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.