Paul Bley's 2nd ESP issue from 1966 is a lush trio setting with material mostly from Carla Bley, one Ornette Coleman number, and one from Annette Peacock.
Bley Trio, Paul
Released in: USA
Following his Barrage album, which featured Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Trumpeter, Dewey Johnson and percussionist, Milford Graves, Paul Bley went back to the studio to record a very different album with bassist, Steve Swallow and percussionist, Barry Altschul. He chose works by Carla Bley and Annette Peacock, and one of his own, titled Figfoot, for a series of languid reflections."-Bernard Stollman
"The second ESP issue from the Paul Bley Trio is a contrast as dramatic as rain against sunshine. The earlier album, Barrage, recorded in October of 1964, was full of harsh, diffident extrapolations of sound and fury, perhaps because of its sidemen; Marshall Allen and Dewey Johnson on saxophone and trumpet, respectively, were on loan from Sun Ra and joined Eddie Gomez and Milford Graves. Indeed, the music there felt like one long struggle to survive.
On this date, recorded over a year later and released in 1966, Bley's sidemen are two more like-minded experimentalists, drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Steve Swallow. The program of tunes here is also more even-handed and characteristically lush: the entire first side and two on the second were written by Carla Bley (including the gorgeous "Ida Lupino") for a total of seven, and there is one each by pianists Annette Peacock and Ornette Coleman. Bley and his trio understand that with compositions of this nature, full of space and an inherent, interior-pointing lyricism, that pace is everything. And while this set clocks in at just over 29 minutes in length, the playing is so genuine and moving that it doesn't need to be any longer.
The interplay between these three (long before Swallow switched to electric bass exclusively) is startling in how tightly woven they are melodically and harmonically. There isn't a sense that one player -- other than the volume of Mr. Bley's piano in this crappy mix -- stands out from the other two; they are of a piece traveling down this opaque yet warm road together. Bley may never have been as flashy as Cecil Taylor, but he is every bit the innovator."-Thom Jurek, All Music
• Show Bio for Paul Bley
"Hyman Paul Bley, CM (November 10, 1932 - January 3, 2016) was a Canadian pianist known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s as well as his innovations and influence on trio playing and his early live performance on the Moog and Arp audio synthesizers. Bley was a long-time resident of the United States. His music has been described by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times as "deeply original and aesthetically aggressive." Bley's prolific output includes influential recordings from the 1950s through to his solo piano records of the 2000s.
Bley was born in Montreal, Quebec, on November 10, 1932. His adoptive parents were Betty Marcovitch, an immigrant from Romania, and Joe Bley, owner of an embroidery factory. However, in 1993 a relative from the New York branch of the Bley family walked into Sweet Basil in NYC and informed him that his father was actually his biological parent. At age five Bley studied violin, but at age seven he decided to switch to the piano. By eleven he received a junior diploma from the McGill Conservatory in Montreal. At thirteen he formed a band which played at summer resorts in Ste. Agathe, Quebec. As a teenager he played with touring American bands, including Al Cowan's Tramp Band. In 1949, when Bley was starting his senior year of high school, Oscar Peterson asked Bley to fulfill his contract at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal. The next year Bley left Montreal for New York City and Julliard.
In the 1951, on a return trip to Montreal, Bley organized the Jazz Workshop with a group of Montreal musicians. In 1953 Bley invited the bebop alto saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker to the Jazz Workshop, where he played and recorded with him. When Bley returned to New York City he hired Jackie McLean, Al Levitt and Doug Watkins to play an extended gig at the Copa City on Long Island. In 1953 the Shaw Agency booked Bley and his trio to tour with Lester Young, billed as "Lester Young and the Paul Bley Trio" in ads. He also performed with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster at that time. He then conducted for bassist Charles Mingus on the Charles Mingus and His Orchestra album. Additionally, in 1953, Mingus produced the Introducing Paul Bley album for his label, Debut Records with Mingus on bass and drummer Art Blakey . (In 1960 Bley recorded again with the Charles Mingus Group.)
In 1954 Bley received a call from Chet Baker inviting him to play opposite Baker's quintet at Jazz City in Hollywood, California for the month of March. This was followed by a tour with singer Dakota Staton.
Down Beat Magazine interviewed Bley for its July 13, 1955 issue. The prescient title of the article read, "PAUL BLEY, Jazz Is Just About Ready For Another Revolution." The article, reprinted in Down Beat's 50th Anniversary edition, quoted Bley as saying, "I'd like to write longer forms, I'd like to write music without a chordal center."
Bley's trio with Hal Gaylor and Lennie McBrowne toured across the US in 1956, including a club in Juarez. Mexico. The tour culminated with an invitation to play a 1956 New Year's Eve gig at Lucile Ball and Desi Arnez's home in Palm Springs. During the evening, Bley collapsed on the bandstand with a bleeding ulcer and Lucy immediately took him to the Palm Springs hospital where she proceeded to pay for all of his medical care. Bley, who had met Karen Borg while she was working as a cigarette girl at Birdland in NYC, married her after she came out to meet him in Los Angeles, where she became Carla Bley.
In 1957 Bley stayed in Los Angeles where he had the house band at the Hillcrest Club. By 1958 the original band, with vibe player, Dave Pike, evolved into a quintet with Bley hiring young avant garde musicians trumpet player Don Cherry, alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins.
In the early 1960s Bley was part of "The Jimmy Giuffre 3," with Giuffre on reeds, and Steve Swallow on bass. Its repertoire included compositions by Giuffre, Bley and his now ex-wife, composer Carla Bley. The group's music moved towards chamber jazz and free jazz. The 1961 European tour of The Giuffre 3 shocked a public expecting Bebop, however the many recordings released from this tour have proven to be classics of free jazz. During the same period, Bley was touring and recording with tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, which culminated with the RCA Victor album Sonny Meets Hawk! with tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Bley's solo on "All The Things You Are" from this album has been called "the shot heard around the world" by Pat Metheny.
In 1964 Bley was instrumental in the formation of the Jazz Composers Guild, a co-operative organization which brought together many free jazz musicians in New York: Roswell Rudd, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Carla Bley, Michael Mantler, Sun Ra, and others. The guild organized weekly concerts and created a forum for the "October Revolution" of 1964.
In the late 1960s, Bley pioneered the use of the Arp and Moog synthesizers, performing live before an audience for the first time at Philharmonic Hall in New York City on December 26, 1969. This "Bley-Peacock Synthesizer Show" performance, a group with singer/composer Annette Peacock, who had written much of his personal repertoire since 1964, was followed by her playing on the recordings Dual Unity (credited to "Annette & Paul Bley") and Improvisie. The latter was a French release of two extended improvisational tracks with Bley on synthesizers, Peacock's voice and keyboards, and percussion by Dutch free jazz drummer Han Bennink, who had also appeared on part of Dual Unity. [biography continues...]"-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bley)
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• Show Bio for Steve Swallow
"Steve Swallow has long been many jazz critics' favorite electric bassist: rather than playing his instrument in a rock-oriented manner, Swallow emphasizes the high notes and, to an extent, approaches the electric bass as if it were a guitar. He originally started on piano and trumpet before settling on the acoustic bass as a teenager. Swallow joined the Paul Bley trio in 1960 and with Bley was part of an avant-garde version of the Jimmy Giuffre 3 during 1960-1962. Swallow recorded with George Russell and was a member of Art Farmer's quartet (1962-1965), Stan Getz's band (1965-1967), and an important edition of Gary Burton's quartet (1967-1970). The latter group (starting with the addition of guitarist Larry Coryell) was actually one of the first fusion groups, and it was during that time that Swallow began playing electric bass; within a few years, he stopped playing acoustic altogether. Swallow spent a few years in the early '70s living in northern California, during which time he mostly played locally. After the late '70s, he was closely associated with Carla Bley's groups, although he occasionally worked on other projects (including a reunion of the Jimmy Giuffre 3). Swallow has also proved to be a talented composer with "Eiderdown," "Falling Grace," "General Mojo's Well Laid Plan," and "Hotel Hello" among his better-known pieces. The 21st century saw the release of several Swallow sets, including Damaged in Transit (2003), Histoire Du Clochard: The Bum's Tale (2004), and an intriguing set with poet Robert Creeley, So There (2006). Hotel Hello appeared in 2007, followed by Believe in Spring, a collection of standards with Hans Ulrik and Jonas Johansen issued on the Stunt label, and Carla's Christmas Carols in 2008. In 2010, he recorded IS with trumpeter Tore Johanson for the Inner Ear label. Swallow formed We3 along with Adam Nussbaum and David Leibman; they recorded Amazing in 2011. In 2012, he and drummer Joey Barron played in Steve Kuhn's trio for the recording of Wisteria on ECM. It was a busy year for the bassist: he also recorded another duet offering, The Agnostic Chant Book, with reed and woodwind master Jonas Schoen. He led his own quintet for Into the Woodwork, which was issued on Xtra WATT, in June of 2013, and shared triple-billing with Carla Bley and Andy Sheppard on Trios, which was released in September of that year. In 2016, Swallow once again joined Bley and Sheppard for Andando el Tiempo."-All Music, Scott Yanow (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/steve-swallow-mn0000042344/biography)
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• Show Bio for Barry Altschul
"Barry Altschul (born January 6, 1943, New York City) is a free jazz and hard bop drummer who gained fame in the late 1960s with the pianists Paul Bley and Chick Corea.
Altschul, having initially taught himself to play drums, studied with Charlie Persip during the 1960s. In the latter part of the decade, he performed with Paul Bley. In 1969 he joined with Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Anthony Braxton to form the group Circle. At the time, he made use of a high-pitched Gretsch kit with add-on drums and percussion instruments, which he integrated seamlessly in a whirlwind of sound.
In the 1970s Altschul worked extensively with Anthony Braxton's quartet featuring Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, and George Lewis. Braxton, signed to Arista Records, was able to secure a large enough budget to tour with a collection of dozens of percussion instruments, strings and winds. In addition to his participation in ensembles featuring avant-garde musicians, Altschul performed with Lee Konitz, Art Pepper and other "straight ahead" jazz performers.
Altschul also made albums as a leader, but after the mid-1980s he was rarely seen in concert or on record, spending much of his time in Europe. Since the 2000s, he has become more visible, with two sideman appearances on the CIMP label with the FAB trio (with Billy Bang and Joe Fonda), the Jon Irabagon Trio recording "Foxy", and the bassist Adam Lane. Altschul has played or recorded with many musicians, including Roswell Rudd, Dave Liebman, Barre Phillips, Denis Levaillant, Andrew Hill, Sonny Criss, Hampton Hawes, and Lee Konitz."-Wikipedia-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Altschul)
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Catalog ID: ESP 1021CD
Squidco Product Code: 9416
Recorded NYC, December 12, 1965 at RLA Studios in NYC by Richard L. Alderson. Originally
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