Paul Bley Trio - "Closer", ESP / Abraxas
www.abraxasrecords.com

Where do you begin to quantify the life of Paul Bley? In my opinion, Bley is easily one of the most original pianists to emerge on the scene in the last 40 years. Fact: he's Canadian. Fact: Carla Bley is his ex-wife. Fact: he has played with everyone from Tony Oxley, Steve Swallow and Evan Parker. Enough facts. This 1966 trio date is a rich one for Bley. It's full of warmth, delicacy and most importantly, innovation. Bley sounds like he has unlearned everything he was taught in overpriced schools, only to expound his amazing palette of sounds, unique keystrokes and brilliant ideas. He couldn't have asked for a better rhythm section either. Bassist Steve Swallow and percussionist Barry Altschul create a subtle motionless mass; one that moves carefully through the layers that Bley outlays in front of them. The only drawback I can find with this record (I really had to do a lot of digging) is its' length, as it clocks in at about 30 minutes. That's a real shame, as beauty such as "Closer" should last a lot longer.

Tom Sekowski


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