Paul Bley Trio

Questions

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A February 1985 recording in a Copenhagen studio, Questions finds Canadian free jazz pianist Paul Bley paired with the Danish rhythm section of bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Aage Tangaard. For a one-off recording session assumedly recorded with a minimum of rehearsal, the three mesh quite well, although the interplay between Bley and Lundgaard in the middle section of the opening "Lovely" probably was not meant to sound as hesitant and atonal as it does. Wisely, the album then moves into a series of solos by Bley, "Adventure" parts one through four. Melodic but abstract, with long pauses and unexpected glissandi, these solos sound almost like Bill Evans might have after heavy exposure to Brian Eno. The rhythm section comes back in for the gently swinging "Beautiful," then lays out again for another pair of Bley solos. Returning for the first three sections of the four-part "Here and Gone," Lundgaard and Tangaard seem perfectly attuned with Bley's fragmented, impressionistic style. (Part two of this composition has nearly as much silence as it does music.) The rhythm section's restrained, subtle support on these tracks is a perfect setting for Bley, who moves even further into quasi-ambient soloing on the seven-minute closer, "Fanfare." The more normal sounding trio recordings towards the front of the disc sound almost out of place, but the rest of Questions is Bley at his tranquil but never placid best.

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