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Paul Bley - Mazatlan
Paul Bley - Flame
Paul Bley - Told You So
Gary Peacock - Moor
Paul Bley - Longer
Paul Bley - Dialogue Amour
Ornette Coleman - When Will The Blues Leave
George and Ira Gershwin / Du Bose Heyward - I Loves You, Porgy
Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian
When Will The Blues Leave
Paul Bley: piano
Gary Peacock: double bass
Paul Motian: drums
Digital release date: May 31, 2019
CD release date: June 7, 2019
UPC: 6025 774 0423 8
“If music is conversation then questions will come up because in conversation there are many questions. Questions lead to answers, which lead to more questions. That is what makes the music continue: the questions and their answers.”
When Will The Blues Leave, a previously unreleased recording rescued from the archives, bears testimony to the special musical understanding shared by three great improvisers. Long acknowledged by creative musicians as one of the influential groups of the ‘free’ era, Paul Bley’s pioneering trio with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian has been under-represented on record. A 1963 session with this trio formed part of the album Paul Bley with Gary Peacock, which ECM released in 1970, and a 1964 recording on which the three musicians were joined by saxophonist John Gilmore was issued in the mid-70s on Bley’s IAI label. Over the years there were recordings which presented the pianist either with Motian or with Peacock, as well as albums that featured the drummer and bassist in other contexts. But it wasn’t until 1998 that all three protagonists came together again, at Gary’s suggestion, for the ECM recording Not Two, Not One. On its release the following year, the reunited trio of Bley, Peacock and Motian played concerts on both sides of the Atlantic, and we are very pleased to present now this live album, drawn from a performance at Lugano’s Aula Magna in March 1999, which shows the group at the peak of its powers. More than a historical document, it’s also a great-sounding album, one of the finest in Paul’s trio discography.
Paul Bley’s tune “Mazatlan”, which long-time Bley followers first encountered on the albumTouching, opens the proceedings and immediately ushers the listener into the trio’s quick-witted world, in which three independent spirits enjoy the fullest range of expression. “The beauty of having a drummer like Paul Motian,” Bley once famously said, “was that you were free to go wherever you wanted. He didn’t play accompaniment. So you didn’t have to worry ‘If I take a left turn will the drummer be able to follow me?’, because Motian had no intention of following you in the first place.” Both Motian and Peacock claim plenty of space inside “Mazatlan” and Bley makes some characteristic explorations of the piano’s lower reaches, with explosive clusters at the deep end.
“Flame” burns steadily, with Bley and Peacock developing what might be described as parallel soliloquies. “Told You So” is a reminder of the pianist’s affection for the blues, constant through the fragmentation of its themes.
The energetic “When Will The Blues Leave”, taken at a flying clip, is a piece that was introduced into Bley’s repertoire in 1958 when the tune’s composer, Ornette Coleman, was a member (along with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins) of Paul’s legendary quintet at the Hillcrest Club in Los Angeles. It can also be heard on the classic Footloose album and on Paul Bley With Gary Peacock. The latter album also includes Peacock’s “Moor”, a composition the bassist has returned to numerous times, always finding new things to play in it (other versions on ECM include a quartet rendering with Jan Garbarek, Tomasz Stanko and Jack DeJohnette on Voice From The Past-Paradigm, and a recent trio interpretation with Marc Copland and Joey Baron on Now This). Here, “Moor” begins as a robust bass solo, which gradually draws Motian’s drums and Bley’s piano into its orbit.
These musicians were never inclined to play anything the same way twice, and “Dialogue Amour”, introduced a year earlier on Not Two, Not One, is transformed in the Lugano performance, with both Peacock and Bley free associating as the piece unfolds. At one point, Paul quotes from “Ornithology” by Charlie Parker (just one of the many giants Bley played with along the way).
In the trio’s first collaborations in the early 1960s, the emphasis had been on original material as a doorway to free playing, but by the 1990s all three musicians, in their various projects, had re-embraced standard repertoire as well. The concluding piece here, Gershwin’s “I Loves You, Porgy” is another fascinating performance, with Bley at first surrendering to its romantic atmosphere, then splintering and abstracting the melody, driven – as he always was – to make the music new.
Further ECM recordings with Paul Bley and Paul Motian include Fragments and The Paul Bley Quartet recorded, respectively, in 1986 and 1987, with a group completed by John Surman and Bill Frisell. In addition to albums mentioned above, Bley and Gary Peacock can be heard together on Ballads (recorded 1967), John Surman’s Adventure Playground (1991) and In The Evenings Out There (also 1991), jointly credited to Bley, Peacock, Surman and Tony Oxley. Gary Peacock and Paul Motian can be heard together with Keith Jarrett on the album At The Deer Head Inn (1992), and on recordings by Marilyn Crispell including Nothing ever was, anyway (1996) - featuring music Annette Peacock originally wrote for Paul Bley’s groups – andAmaryllis (2000).
Paul Bley’s last recording for ECM was the live solo album Play Blue, recorded at the Oslo Jazz Festival in 2008. Paul Motian’s final recording as a leader for the label was Lost In A Dream, recorded 2009, with Chris Potter and Jason Moran. Motian died in 2011, Bley in 2016.
Gary Peacock continues to record new music. Following the dissolution of Keith Jarrett’s ‘Standards’ trio (of which Gary was a member for 30 years), Peacock’s priorities have included his own group with Marc Copland and Joey Baron (albums are Tangents and Now This) and a duo with Marilyn Crispell (documented on Azure).
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Nimbus
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Flood
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - What Floats Beneath
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Lost River
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Styx
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Night Sea Journey
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Fluvius
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - What The Water Brings
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Flotsam
Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset - Wadi
Michele Rabbia, Gianluca Petrella, Eivind Aarset
Michele Rabbia: percussion, electronics
Gianluca Petrella: trombone, sounds
Eivind Aarset: guitar, electronics
Digital release date: May 31, 2019
CD release date: June 7, 2019
UPC: 6025 774 5607 7
Lost River is an evocative and richly-textured sonic event, and one of the outstanding beyond-category recordings of recent ECM history. Drummer Michele Rabbia and guitarist Eivind Aarset had played many duo concerts, and Rabbia had also worked with trombonist Gianluca Petrella in other contexts, but this recording marks a premiere for the trio, brought together at the suggestion of producer Manfred Eicher.
Spontaneously improvised for the most part, and with mysterious detail flowering inside its soundscapes, Lost River keeps revealing new forms. Rabbia’s drumming is freely creative and propulsive, and enhanced through his use of electronics. Aarset’s flowing playing will intrigue listeners who have enjoyed his Dream Logic project and his contribution to recordings with Tigran Hamasyan, Andy Sheppard, Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molvӕr (if Lost Rivers belongs to a tributary or subset of ECM recordings, it is one that includes Khmer). And Petrella’s role as a central instrumental voice here may surprise those who know him only as a great “jazz” soloist with Enrico Rava and Giovanni Guidi; his broad range is well-deployed in Eicher’s widescreen production on this recording, made in Udine in January 2018. All three players – Rabbia, Petrella and Aarset - share an interest in electronic music as a means for conveying or enhancing emotional expression and for shaping the environments and atmospheres in which instrumental interaction, melodic development and the coloring of sound can take place.
Michele Rabbia was born in Turin in 1965. He studied drums firstly with Enrico Lucchini in Italy and subsequently in the US with Joe Hunt and Alan Dawson. He has worked with a huge cast of musicians, with collaborators including Marilyn Crispell, Vincent Courtois, Roscoe Mitchell, Andy Sheppard and Dominique Pifarély. Rabbia has previously appeared on ECM recordings with Stefano Battaglia including Raccolto (recorded 2003), Re: Pasolini (2005), and Pastorale(2009). With Maria Pia De Vito, François Couturier and Anja Lechner, he is a founder member of the group Il Pergolese, whose eponymous debut album (2012) draws freely upon compositions of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.
Born in Bari in the South of Italy in 1975, Gianluca Petrella took up the trombone at the age of 10, following in the footsteps of his father, also a trombonist. The younger Petrella immersed himself in the history of jazz, exploring its mutating styles while also keeping an ear open to the sounds of the city. Recognized now as one of the important figures in the new Italian jazz, he is also interested in contemporary composition, R & B and the roots of hip hop, film music and more. He has performed with Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer, leads several bands of his own, and has created soundtracks for movies. A co-leader on the ECM album Ida Lupino(recorded 2015), with Giovanni Guidi, Louis Sclavis and Gerald Cleaver, Petrella can also be heard on four records for the label with Enrico Rava - Easy Living (2003), The Words and the Days (2005), Tribe (2019), and Wild Dance (2015) - and as a member of the Orchestre National de Jazz under the direction of Paolo Damiani on Charmediterranéan (2001).
Eivind Aarset, born in Kolbotn, Norway in 1961, started playing guitar at the age of 12, inspired initially by Jimi Hendrix. Other early influences included fellow Norwegian Terje Rypdal and Pete Cosey with Miles Davis’s Agharta group. Aarset has helped to shape a new role for the electric guitar in creative music, working in an almost painterly way with texture and color and atmosphere. Eivind’s ECM album Dream Logic was recorded in 2011 and 2012. It was followed by Atmosphères (2014) with an improvising quartet with Tigran Hamasyan, Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang. Other ECM recordings with Eivind include Nils Petter Molvӕr’s influential Khmer(1996-97) and Solid Ether (1999) , Small Labyrinths (1994) with Marilyn Mazur’s Future Song, Arild Andersen’s Electra (2002-03), Arve Heriksen’s Cartography (2005-06), John Hassell’s Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street (2008), Ketil Bjørnstad’s La Notte(2010), Food’s Mercurial Balm (2010-11), Michel Benita’s River Silver (2015), and three albums with Andy Sheppard: Movements In Colour (2008), Surrounded by Sea (2014) and Romaria (2017).
biggest preliminary take-away from this for me is that the laud is a direct descendent of the oud.