241

Paul Bley: Solo In Mondsee

By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Bley: Solo In Mondsee The body may feel a bit tired, but the resolute, searching mind, is still very much intact; as sharp as an eagle's eye and as terrifying as a boxer's aim. Pianist Paul Bley has been searching relentlessly for half a century, yet his playing remains as fresh as spring water. His phrases are still as temperamental and intentionally destabilizing as they were in his younger years. It has always been like that with the Montreal-born giant; the music flowing like a river, breaking through obstacles, unstoppable and ever-changing.

Bley is one of that rare breed of artist for whom risk and resiliency are not mere empty spoken words, but rather governing principles in a life of unselfish dedication to a merciless art form. In fact, his musical journey draws analogy to that of the spawning salmon, swimming upstream, spewing his seed for the future of his species (collaborating along the way with almost all historically important jazz artists including Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young and Lee Konitz).

Thirty-five years since his acclaimed Open, To Love (ECM, 1972), he returns with Solo In Mondsee, recorded April 2001 in the Austrian Alps under producer Manfred Eicher's guidance. In Eicher's world, where the music is expected to be timeless, belated street dates are frequent. As a matter of fact, Keith Jarrett's My Foolish Heart, which was recorded in July 2001, has been released a month after Bley's, in September 2007. That being said, this disc undoubtedly earns the "timeless album" sobriquet.

The Bleyian bipolar musical mind, inside of which lyricism, form and composition happily collide with adventurous textural playing, is presented here in all its naked splendor. The playing is melodic and singing, yet always oscillating between the free ballad genre and traditional song forms with the abrupt modulations of which he is fond. Interspersed with clever melodic fragments that seem inspired by standard tunes, the program also ventures into more gestural/expressionist pieces on "Var. III," "VIII" and "IX"; harmonically sparse rounds on "Var. II" and "X," as well as the bluesy "Var. VII."

While it does not have the reach of Open, To Love, Jarrett's Facing You (ECM, 1971) or The Koln Concert (ECM, 1975), Solo In Mondsee still ranks high in Bley's gargantuan discography. And, one bets, Eicher has yet to finish tapping into his friend and early idol's infinite creativity. Who can blame him?


Track Listing: Mondsee Variations I-X.

Personnel: Paul Bley: piano.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "End Of Seas" CD/LP/Track Review End Of Seas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Broken Artist" CD/LP/Track Review Broken Artist
by James Nadal
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Risc" CD/LP/Track Review Risc
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Nearly Extinct" CD/LP/Track Review Nearly Extinct
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!