Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

391

Paul Bley: Barrage

Lyn Horton By

Sign in to view read count
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, or bassist Eddie Gomez splurges in a solo, or drummer Milford Graves splits off the mainline, the tempo remains unchanged. The texture seems to be the focus ("Ictus," "Around Again," "Barrage").



When the music actually does slow down a bit, each instrument establishes its own sonic principles, albeit contributing to the group effort. Bassist Gomez in "Ictus" and trumpeter Johnson and reedist Marshall Allen in "And Now the Queen" shift the tide by shaping the music so it can breathe a little.



But the pace is omnipresent. The musicians sustain their bebopifying on "Around Again." The vast difference between the music's bebop nature and what it becomes is that the musical intent defines itself in terms of the phraseology. The melody comes through only when instruments synchronize and the remainder falls into the realm of the abstract. Allen pushes his tenor to extremes within the set of parameters posed by the compositions; he does not go beyond them, as again on "Around Again."



Trumpeter Johnson and Allen hand the music back and forth, emphasizing how the exchange of phrasing works ("Walking Woman," "Barrage"). Graves and Bley perform at the same exchange rate, however, keeping it light the whole way through ("Walking Woman, "Barrage"). This "just-below-line" intensity, demonstrated by the steadily struck pizzicato energy of the bass and the tender, though tight and direct drum work ("Barrage"), characterize the modernization of the music.



As composer, Carla Bley (then Paul's wife) has lifted the music that Charlie Parker and his cohorts carved out and blasted it into a bevy of abstractions. Arpeggiations on the horns and scattered polyphony from the piano and drums transform the music to fit a completely contemporary framework. That framework seems to transcend its historical backdrop of hard bop and cordon off a zone all its own. It is too bad that the technology presented by the format for vinyl restrict the improvisations from going further off into space. This record exemplifies some defining moments for distinguishing the purpose of future music, not only from any musician in this group, but also among the numbers of musicians whose work at that time altered the direction in which music would go. Where freedom of expression overrode expectations and music aligned itself appropriately with human instinct.


Track Listing: Batterie; Ictus; And Now the Queen; Around Again; Walking Woman; Barrage.

Personnel: Marshall Allen: alto sax; Dewey Johnson: trumpet; Paul Bley: piano; Eddie Gomez: bass; Milford Graves: percussion.

Title: Barrage | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ESP Disk

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Year in Review
Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Podcast
Album Reviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Play Blue

Play Blue

ECM Records
2014

buy
Annette

Annette

Hatology
2010

buy
 

Closer

ESP Disk
2009

buy
Barrage

Barrage

ESP Disk
2009

buy
About Time

About Time

Justin Time Records
2008

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019
Read Perception Album Reviews
Perception
By Paul Rauch
February 20, 2019
Read I Love the Rhythm in a Riff Album Reviews
I Love the Rhythm in a Riff
By Mackenzie Horne
February 20, 2019
Read Head First Album Reviews
Head First
By Roger Farbey
February 20, 2019
Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019