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Saturday, January 16, 2016

RIP Paul Bley 

 I woke up January 5th to discover that two of my musical heroes have died. I'll post something about Pierre Boulez later (and David Bowie, too), but here are some thoughts about Paul Bley

Paul Bley was a pianist I easily admired. A probing mind and a creative restlessness. I don't remember what of his I first heard. Possibly the album he did with the really young Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius. The introduction was complete seeing the reunion concert in 1991 of the classic Jimmy Giuffre Three (Giuffre, Bley, and Steve Swallow) playing their chamber-jazz concept at MIT's Killean Hall, music largely off the radar at Famous Music College. This was jazz which added a European flavor to the liberation Ornette Coleman brought to jazz harmony/rhythm/form etc. I think I've not really dug into Bley enough, other pieces I've read mention records I've not heard of. Besides the Giuffre records I also love the studio album Memoirs and the live Montreal Tapes that Bley recorded in a trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian.

Here's a tribute program from WFMU's John Allen.

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