All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

378

Paul Bley: Nothing to Declare

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
In the intervening half century since he first appeared on record, pianist Paul Bley has cut a huge number of records and left an unmistakable trail of music defining his own view of avant-garde jazz. (Is is still called avant-garde decades later?) He's worked with a virtual who's who of improvised music, but here for his fifth solo release on Justin Time, it's just Bley and his piano doing the talking.

Bley has always had a talent for bridging intellectual leaps within a perspective that remains direct and unassuming. These four pieces, spanning eight to eighteen minutes in length, allow the artist plenty of time to do his thing. Because he doesn't rush through the exercise, there's a sense of ideas being elaborated on the spot in a stepwise fashion, and you can follow that seeming stream of consciousnessness flow with your ear. Nothing to Declare has a very intimate sound; you can hear the mechanics of the piano and follow Bley quietly singing along. Because he pedals heavily, even closely guarded melodies acquire a more expasive harmonic cast, and regular shifts in overtones imply layers of texture that don't simply wash away when he lifts his foot or hands.

The title tune, based on "All The Things You Are," carries with it a sense of awe and wonder, something Bley cultivates through extended meditations. It's not the most extroverted music, to put it bluntly, but you don't have to strain yourself to get the message loud and clear. The remaining three pieces are similarly guarded and reverential, though they invoke more of the blues and an overt sense of drama. Bley's lyricism has never been blunt or simplistic, and Nothing to Declare is nothing to be glossed over with a superficial listen, but it's sufficiently natural that the spontaneous leaps in logic make good sense.

Visit Paul Bley on the web.


Track Listing: Nothing to Declare; Breakdown; Blues Waltz; 8th Avenue

Personnel: Paul Bley (piano)

Title: Nothing to Declare | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Justin Time Records

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 Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen) CD/LP/Track Review
Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)
by Barry Witherden
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Influences CD/LP/Track Review
Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read async Remodels CD/LP/Track Review
async Remodels
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Way Out West CD/LP/Track Review
Way Out West
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)" CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "The Other Side of Time" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Side of Time
by Kevin Press
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Roppongi" CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Parts Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Parts Unknown
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 6, 2017