Paul Bley with Gary Peacock (ECM 1003)


Paul Bley Trio
Paul Bley with Gary Peacock

Paul Bley piano
Gary Peacock bass
Paul Motian drums
Billy Elgart drums
Recorded 1964 and 1968 in New York
Produced by “ECM”
Release date: December 1, 1970

From the moment “Blues” lights the fuse, we’re rocketing through this magnificently swinging album. Pianist Paul Bley proves his comfort in Ornette Coleman territory, easing his way through a series of dexterous detours. His original “Getting Started” follows up with a ballad, its brushed drums giving off a grainy feel, desolate yet comforting. Peacock’s soloing is eager and ever so slightly askew. “When Will The Blues Leave” (Coleman) is a more syncopated affair. Brushes defer to drumsticks, adding delicate punch to the overall sound. Even Bley cannot restrain joyful cries as the mood intensifies. “Long Ago And Far Away” (Jerome Kern) moves forward with locomotive purpose and finds Peacock in an exuberant mood. “Moor” exhibits his soloing and composing, as refreshing as they are restless. “Gary” (Annette Peacock) is a lonely catharsis forged in bass and piano. The bassing here is somber, as if contemplating a jump from a high precipice. When the piano returns, it’s not to pull the bass downward but keep it from falling over. Bley’s own “Big Foot” is a rip-roaring good time. One can feel the lovingness of its creation. Finally, “Albert’s Love Theme” (Annette Peacock) presents us with a new direction as the trio goes its separate ways.

Bley is on point, Peacock hopping with vivacious confidence, as drummer Paul Motian brushes and rat-a-tat-tats his way through five of the eight cuts (the remaining three feature Billy Elgart in his place). The recording, made in 1963 (Motian session) and 1969 (Elgart session), has a classic trebly overlay yet is highly detailed. It’s a listening experience that suggests new focus every time. For this review, it’s Peacock who captures my attention. His fondness for higher registers punches holes in the music and allows the wind to flow through. Considering the time and place this album was cut, and the jigsaw of its talents, it practically recommends itself.

<< Just Music: s/t (ECM 1002)
>> Marion Brown: Afternoon Of A Georgia Faun (ECM 1004)

3 thoughts on “Paul Bley with Gary Peacock (ECM 1003)

      1. Keith does admit his Bley inspiration, he has said he listened to ‘Footloose’ thousands of times”.

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