Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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 Umbrella Weather CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Born In An Urban Ruin CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Leaving Everything Behind" CD/LP/Track Review Leaving Everything Behind
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Duopoly" CD/LP/Track Review Duopoly
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "The Broader Picture" CD/LP/Track Review The Broader Picture
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Winds Of Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Winds Of Mouth
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Illogical Harmonies with D’Incise" CD/LP/Track Review Illogical Harmonies with D’Incise
by John Eyles
Published: June 13, 2016
Read "Skylines" CD/LP/Track Review Skylines
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!