378

Paul Bley: Nothing to Declare

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Bley: Nothing to Declare 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: solo piano

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Justin Time Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Soulmation CD/LP/Track Review Soulmation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Feather CD/LP/Track Review Feather
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Lookin' East CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read The Voice of Robert Desnos CD/LP/Track Review The Voice of Robert Desnos
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 22, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "In Layers" CD/LP/Track Review In Layers
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Further Explorations" CD/LP/Track Review Further Explorations
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Intersection" CD/LP/Track Review Intersection
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Planet
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Points of View" CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!