258

Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Not Two, Not One

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Not Two, Not One Despite its esoteric thrust, this music is suffused with the classic sound of the jazz piano trio. And if anyone knows the format inside and out, it’s these three men. Pianist Paul Bley started out as a bebopper in the 50s, playing trio with Mingus and Art Blakey. A decade later, drummer Paul Motian played a key role in Bill Evans’s reinvention of the trio concept. Later still, bassist Gary Peacock furthered the idiom’s evolution in a long-standing association with Keith Jarrett. So of course a Bley/Peacock/Motian trio is going to be serious stuff.

A free jazz aesthetic prevails on the album. Tempos, harmonies, and forms are for the most part implied and difficult to detect. Yet the music is never cacophonous. Quite the contrary, it possesses a kind of beauty that can only be called traditional. The listener, however, must do without the guideposts of conventional composition and arranging. The sounds you will hear are at once familiar and profoundly mysterious.

Of the tunes, Bley wrote "Fig Foot," "Now," and "Vocal Tracked." The latter two are deliciously contrasting solo piano features, while "Fig Foot" is a blues-inflected work for the full trio. Peacock authored the restless "Intente," the even more restless "Set Up Set," and a jewel of a solo bass piece titled "Entelechy." Bley and Peacock cowrote "Noosphere," "Dialogue Amour," and "Don’t You Know," the three most "normal" tracks on the record. ("Dialogue Amour" is the only cut that features a walking bass line, and even then only for a moment.) All three players composed "Not Zero: In Three Parts," the opener, and "Not Zero: In One Part," the closer. On every track, the boundary between the planned and the spontaneous is quite blurry, prompting curiosity as to how these tunes might look on paper, if they are in fact written down at all. Yet amid all the freedom and abstraction, there’s an order and cohesion that holds this music together, a glue that is entirely specific to this trio.

Bley, Peacock, and Motian are three huge names in jazz, but this is no ordinary jazz supergroup thrown together to sell tickets and records. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform at the Knitting Factory in 1998. I was impressed then, and I’m even more impressed now.

Cyberhome: www.ecmrecords.com


Track Listing: Not Zero: In Three Parts, Entelechy, Now, Fig Foot, Vocal Tracked, Intente, Noosphere, Set Up Set, Dialogue Amour, Don't You Know, Not Zero: In One (62:37)

Personnel: Paul Bley- piano, Gary Peacock- bass, Paul Motian- drums

Title: Not Two, Not One | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Resonance CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Black Focus CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Snowmelt" CD/LP/Track Review Snowmelt
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Eka" CD/LP/Track Review Eka
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "In Love With" CD/LP/Track Review In Love With
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Penumbra" CD/LP/Track Review Penumbra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!