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Chaos is a new collaborative effort from experimentalists Paul Bley (p), Furio Di Castri (b) and drummer Tony Oxley. What we have here is a series of duets, solos and trio settings.
The Bley composition “Poetic Justice” typifies some of the trio’s introspective pieces which generally reside within the free jazz realm. Bley provides the melodic interludes while Oxley and Di Castri explore various rhythmic structures. Oxley’s inventions on the kit are legendary. His arsenal of odd sounding percussion instruments and his ability to shift gears midstream conveys the sense of playfulness. Bley’s solos prove to be at times, ethereal and haunting. Bley is no slouch at churning out a beautiful ballad but his reputation as an avante-garde musician generally preceeds him.
Overall, the trio compositions tend to evoke shifting moods, diverse motiffs and occassionally, hints at what Bill Evans may have accomplished with some free jazzer’s back in the saddle. There are a few solo performances and duets. Oxley at times seems comedic behind the kit; however, this reviewer will candidly admit that the overall seriousness of this project may leave some bewildered.
Bley and company have churned out a very interesting collection of tunes that stretch the imagination and boundaries of jazz.