What a difference in an artist's development a decade makes. Released originally in 1964, Paul Bley's Barrage is a creative, thoroughly satisfying free-jazz outing. For these six compositions, all by Carla Bley, the leader is joined by drummer Milford Graves, bassist Eddie Gomez, trumpeter Dewey Johnson and saxophonist Marshall Allen (of the Sun Ra Arkestra) for improvisations of an intense yet deeply considered nature.
In his piano playing, Bley seems to draw inspiration from Cecil Taylor, while the skittering dialogues between the instruments owe a debt to Ornette Coleman's early ensemble work. Yet there is something quite fresh and distinctive about the music on Barrage, thanks largely to the distinctive voices of each player, and the way these voices play off each other in skilled, thrilling ways.
Paul Bley (piano); Marshall Allen (alto saxophone); Dewey Johnson (trumpet); Eddie Gomez (bass); Milford Graves (percussion)
1. Batterie 2. Ictus 3. And Now the Queen 4. Around Again 5. Walking Woman 6. Barrage
The attitude of the gallant Six Hundred which so aroused Lord Tennyson's admiration arose from the fact that the least disposition to ask the reason why was discouraged by tricing the would-be inquirer to the triangle and flogging him into insensibility.
Advance to Barbarism
(Mitre Press, 1968).
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