Paul Bley Trio

Modern Chant: Inspiration from Gregorian Chant

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Can it be a coincidence that this CD, subtitled "Inspiration from Gregorian Chant," was recorded right around the time that chant music was reaching its improbable peak on the album charts? In any case, this enjoyable, offbeat trio album featuring the unusual combination of Bley's piano, David Eyges' electric cello and Bruce Ditmas' drums seems to have very little to do with Gregorian chant per se. Indeed, such numbers as "Wisecracks" and "Loose Change" are definitely based on the blues, "Decompose" has an M-base funk foundation, and "Funhouse" is a nasty, down-home bit of grooving that eventually becomes engulfed in a swirling maelstrom (so this is from whom Keith Jarrett may have picked up some of his group concepts). Only "Digitant" seems to breathe some of the ambience of chant in its thematic material. Eyges' cello usually fills in the traditional function of a bass -- albeit a very light-toned bass -- while occasionally forming dissonant arco (bowed) counterlines around the piano. Bley's playing is often brilliantly unpredictable, difficult to categorize, and thus, able to stand out from the pack.

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