Saturday, January 16, 2016

Some thoughts about Paul Bley

When I read that Paul Bley had passed, I realized I had some holes in my collection in regards to his output. In particular, I hadn't really kept up with him from the 90's on, apart from his infrequent collaborations with Evan Parker on ECM.

One of the recordings I acquired to correct this deficiency was Play Blue, his solo Oslo concert from 2008, also on ECM.

From the beginning of this CD you know you’re going on a journey. That’s what I love about jazz, the fact that the music takes you – “let the music take you” – from where you are to somewhere. Sometimes you come all the way back, and sometimes a part of you is left out there, at some point where your consciousness meets that of the artist, at some intersection of your experiences. 

And wherever the journey takes you, you’re left with the memory of that journey, as real as any physical trip you’ve taken. You remember those special moments when you first listen to that album that changes your life. You can recall the experience of taking the shrink wrap off the album, smelling the vinyl and the printed sleeve, and placing it on the turntable. At Beethoven Hall, New York Fall 1974, Tribute, One for One , Involution, the list is forever in your memory.

Thank you to Paul Bley, and to all the artists who are willing to take us along on their journeys.

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