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Album Review

This is a fascinating set. Although the instrumentation (pianist Paul Bley, bassist Furio DiCastri and Tony Oxley on drums and percussion) may lead one to expect a conventional piano trio, in reality the 13 selections consist of four drum solos, one unaccompanied bass piece, two piano solos, a piano-drums duet and just five trio numbers. Bley's use of space and dynamics gave free jazz pianists in the 1960s an alternative approach to Cecil Taylor; here he sounds quite creative and his opening "Chaos" is a near-classic. DiCastri, who is very inventive on his unaccompanied "Touching Bass," is intuitive and displays a huge tone. However, it is Oxley who often steals one's attention. His wide array of equipment makes one think that he raided a junkyard, and his four solos are full of color rather than technique, surprises rather than swing. While many drum/percussion solos lose a great deal when the visual element is not present, Tony Oxley's transfer very well to disc. This set of concise free improvisations is highly recommended to open-minded listeners.


Born: November 10, 1932 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Pianist Paul Bley, whose earliest recordings sound like Al Haig or Bud Powell, took the styles and techniques associated with Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans to new levels of creative experimentation, becoming an indispensable force in modern music by combining the best elements in bop and early modern jazz with extended free improvisation and procedural dynamics often found in 20th century chamber music. This approach places him in league with artists as diverse as Red Garland, Elmo...
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