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...

133

Paul Bley: Barrage

By

Sign in to view read count
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 at the Hillcrest Club in 1958.

Here, Bley's at the helm of a quintet with trumpeter Dewey Johnson (his only other recordings were Coltrane's Ascension and two Paul Murphy sessions), alto saxophonist Marshall Allen in a rare venture away from Sun Ra's Arkestra and a rhythm section of bassist Eddie Gomez and percussionist Milford Graves, recording nine days before their work on Giuseppi Logan's ESP debut and redefining the potential activity levels for a free jazz rhythm section. Gomez and Graves each play more, all the time, than most musicians soloing, a virtual orchestra of bass and drums. The band plays full out, almost all the time, on six themes by Carla Bley, spiky free jazz anthems that run between 4:26 and 5:51. The music is intense, taut, dense and usually blistering, like a terse volcano.

The theme of the opening "Batterie" burns off in a mere 12 seconds and the whole thing is over in 4:30 with solos from everybody in the quintet. Bley's abstract, tangential lines are both brilliant and brittle, continuous with the chattering, edgy horns. "Ictus," all polyrhythms and vocal inflections, makes for fascinating contrast with Bley's earlier version with the Jimmy Giuffre 3. Even when the band slows down—for the Stravinsky-reminiscent "And Now the Queen"—the sound is corrosive.

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: 2009 | Record Label: ESP Disk

Tags

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 "Little Steps" CD/LP/Track Review Little Steps
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "You & I" CD/LP/Track Review You & I
by James Nadal
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Setembro" CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Looking Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Looking Forward
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 30, 2017