Paul Bley

Alone, Again

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Bley is an engaging, thoughtful and highly individualistic player who doesn't fit any rigid category. At the time, he was returning to acoustic music after having worked almost exclusively on electric keyboards for several years. This seven-song session (recently reissued on CD) was done on two days in Oslo, Norway in 1974. Bley wrote four numbers, with two others by his ex-wife and frequent collaborator Carla Bley and one by Annette Peacock. No composition was that rhythmically arresting, as Bley stayed mainly in the piano's center, creating nimble melodies, working off them and crafting alternate directions or intriguing counterpoints. It was intellectual, occasionally stiff, but never dull or detached.

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