If the strident experimentation of free-jazz pioneers such as Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler railed against conventional ideas of chord voicing and fixed rhythmic accompaniment, pianist Paul Bley took a decidedly more understated approach to musical innovation. Bley's classic 1966 trio album for ESP-Disk, Closer, is a study in restraint. Moving confidently from melodic lyricism to explosive bursts of tone color, Bley and his compatriots--drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Steve Swallow--strike a pleasing balance between order and chaos, creating music as evocative as it is challenging. This offering, along with Barrage (see previous post) are Bley's classic free-form statements of the era.
Paul Bley (piano); Steve Swallow (bass); Barry Altschul (drums) track listing:
1. Ida Lupino 2. Start 3. Closer 4. Sideways in Mexico 5. Batterie 6. And Now the Queen 7. Figfoot 8. Crossroads 9. Violin 10.Cartoon
rec. in NYC, December 12, 1965
Down Beat (6/93, p.48) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...Compared to the previous year's ESP date, it is the calm after the storm, highlighting Bley's oblique lyricism, as well as his will-to-wail. Those twin attributes have stood Bley in good artistic stead over the years..."
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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