Friday, October 5, 2012

Paul Bley/Jimmy Giuffre/Bill Conners - Quiet Song (Improvising Artists Inc., 1975)

Canadian jazz pianist Paul Bley began his career in music at an early age. Before he was eighteen, he had founded The Montreal Jazz Workshop that brought such artists as Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins to his hometown. Bley studied at Julliard from 1950-54 where he formed musical relationships with distinguished artists like Jackie McLean, Lester Young, and Charlie Mingus. In the late 50's, Bley moved to California and formed groups that included innovative players like Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. In 1958, that trio, along with Billy Higgins and Charlie Haden, recorded a performance in Los Angeles that may be one of the earliest recordings of what came to be known as free jazz. In 1964, at the request of Bill Dixon, Bley joined the Jazz Composer's Guild. In 1973, he met video artist Carol Goss and the two formed Improvising Artists Inc. to feature collaborations between jazz musicians and visual artists.

Quiet Song was the first release on IAI. Bley performs on electric and acoustic piano in his signature style, blending classical, jazz, blues and avant-garde techniques. The trio plays well together, allowing a lot of space for each other to operate in. They each step in and out but occasionally meet at common grounds to create beautiful, melodic passages. There's a lot of space and, like the title infers, quiet on this album.

I find myself particularly drawn to Bley's work at this time of the year. Despite how outside he plays, he creates a feeling of calm that can especially be heard on this album and it feels like appropriate listening as the fall sets in.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for this, I've always enjoyed Bley but am only really now realising the late Mr. Giuffre's talents.