All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Best of / Year End
CD/LP/Track Review
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

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Chansons Du Crepuscule" CD/LP/Track Review Chansons Du Crepuscule
by Don Phipps
Published: January 3, 2018
Read "Spavati, Mozda Sanjati" CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Inminente" CD/LP/Track Review Inminente
by Matt Hooke
Published: March 26, 2018
Read "Origin Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Origin Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "In The Past" CD/LP/Track Review In The Past
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Backstage Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Backstage Pass
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2018