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Riley, Howard: Three Is One (ASC)

Legendary British free jazz pianist Howard Riley challenges the listener with consonant compositional explorations for up to three overdubbed pianos, performing all parts of the trio himself, the pieces recorded and parts of his discography from 1975 through 2007 on labels including Mosaic, Impetus, and Emanem; an album of incredibly (virtual) compatible interaction.

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product information:

UPC: 7141148050069

Label: ASC
Catalog ID: ASCCD98
Squidco Product Code: 28632

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: UK
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in 1975, 1980, 2005 and 2007.


Howard Riley-piano

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Artist Biographies:
"John Howard Riley (born 16 February 1943) is an English jazz pianist and composer. Riley was born in Huddersfield. He began learning the piano at the age of six, and began playing jazz as early as the age of 13. He studied at the University of Wales (1961-66), Indiana University in America under Dave Baker (1966-67), and then at York University (1967-70). Alongside his studies he played jazz professionally, with Evan Parker (1966) and then with his own trio (1967-76), with Barry Guy on bass and Alan Jackson, Jon Hiseman, and Tony Oxley for periods on drums. Additionally he worked with John McLaughlin (1968), the London Jazz Composers Orchestra (1970-1980s), and with Oxley's ensemble (1972-81). He and Guy worked in a trio with Phil Wachsmann from 1976 well into the 1980s, and played solo piano throughout North America and Europe. From 1978 to 1981 he played in a quartet with Guy, Trevor Watts, and John Stevens; in the early 1980s he did duo work with Keith Tippett, with Jaki Byard, and with Elton Dean. From 1985 he worked in a trio setting with Jeff Clyne and Tony Levin. Riley has taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and currently teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he has taught continuously since the 1970s."-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Unbeatable 7:39

2. Still Life 13:56

3. Familiar Strangers 5:52

4. Three Is One 7:03

5. Confessing 6:07

6. Haunted 16:52

7. Heroes 5:51
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"I play all the three pianos on the 'piano trio'. This is achieved by the use of overdubbing. I recorded the first piano (centre in the stereo picture) as though it was a solo recording, then added the second piano as a reaction to the first (left channel), then added the third piano as a reaction to the other two (right channel). Each piece was recorded in this manner, with the exception of Still Life and Haunted, in which the solo, duo and trio sections occur with ony one 'new' piano part in each section. Regarding the playing, everything is a 'first take'.

I made my initial overdubbed piano recordings back in the LP era - Intertwine (two pianos on Mosaic, 1975) and Trisect (three pianos on Impetus, 1980).

There was a 25 year gap before I made the CD Two is One (two pianos on Emanem, 2005), so Three Is One made sense as a recording project at this point in time (2007). It's exhausting but exciting to make overdubbed recordings.

Special thanks are due to Steve Plews, who calmly handled the overdubbing process and also released the music on ASC."-Howard Riley, July 2007.

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings
Duo Recordings
Trio Recordings
Jazz Reissues
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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