Paul Bley


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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.

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