Paul Bley

Blues for Red

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More straight-ahead than many Paul Bley outings, the 14 solo piano vignettes comprising this set reflect the versatility of this wide-ranging performer. There is an emphasis on the blues, and the pianist proves himself a formidable champion of that genre. Fans of Bley's traditional aesthetic should also find something here to admire, as he covers a wide range of styles. While everything is well played, there is a sense of ordinariness on some of the tracks. Nonetheless, Bley is too good a performer not to throw some gems in the pack, and there are flashes of his patented use of space and an occasional energetic cluster. While this is not an album that would serve well as an introduction to this wonderful performer, it will prove particularly rewarding to those who are familiar with the pianist's work and wish to observe some different facets of his playing.

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