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Plimley, Paul Trio: Safe-Crackers (Les Disques Victo)

"Vancouver pianist Paul Plimley and his comrades, bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Scott Amendola, have issued a tough little gem of a recording in Safe-Crackers. Plimley's pianism ranges in voice from fierce avant-garde improvisation to...

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product information:

UPC: 777405006622

Label: Les Disques Victo
Catalog ID: CD 066
Squidco Product Code: 24067

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1999
Country: Canada
Packaging: Jewel Case


Paul Plimley-piano

Lisle Ellis-doublebass

Scott Amendola-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Paul (Horace) Plimley (born 16 March 1953 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a free jazz pianist and vibraphonist. He is one of the doyens of the Canadian jazz avant-garde, a co-founder of the New Orchestra Workshop Society and frequent collaborator with the bassist Lisle Ellis. He is well versed in classical music and in all styles of jazz; he was one of the first and most convincing interpreters of Ornette Coleman's music on the piano (an instrument usually seen as antithetical to Coleman's music).

Plimley studied classical piano under Kum-Sing Lee at the University of British Columbia (1971-3). In 1978-9 he studied with Karl Berger and Cecil Taylor at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY. In 1977 he founded the New Orchestra Workshop (NOW), and he has been active in many of the ensembles associated with NOW, including the NOW Orchestra.

His work with Lisle Ellis is extensive, and includes the duo CD Both Sides of the Same Mirror (Nine Winds, 1989); When Silence Pulls, with Andrew Cyrille (Music & Arts, 1990); Noir, with Bruce Freedman and Gregg Bendian (Victo, 1992); Density of the Lovestruck Demons with Donald Robinson (Music & Arts, 1994); and Safecrackers with Scott Amendola (Victo, 1999). Most notable, perhaps, are two recordings for Hat Art: the collection of Ornette Coleman interpretations, Kaleidoscopes (1992), and (under Joe McPhee's leadership), a revisiting of Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite called Sweet Freedom, Now What? (1994). In May 2000 he recorded a live act at the 17th International Festival of New Music in Victoriaville, Quebec with John Oswald, Marilyn Crispell and Cecil Taylor. The album was released at Victo Records.

The still Vancouver based musician is a regular at the annual Vancouver International Jazz Festival."

-Wikipedia (

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"Scott Amendola (born February 6, 1969) is an American drummer from the San Francisco Bay Area. His styles include jazz, blues, groove, rock and new music. He is considered central to the Bay Area music scene.

Amendola was originally from New Jersey and studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area he came to popularity in the 1990s as a member of T.J. Kirk with Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard and John Schott. Their second album received a Grammy Award nomination. He has led his own bands and trios which have included Nels Cline, Jenny Scheinman, Jeff Parker and John Shifflett as well as Ben Goldberg and Devin Hoff. Often favoring guitarists he has toured with Bill Frisell and Kelly Joe Phelps and recorded with Pat Martino, Jim Campilongo, G.E. Stinson, Nels Cline and Tony Furtado. He is an original member of the Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core. He has been a session percussionist for Noe Venable, Carla Bozulich and Odessa Chen.

In 2011 Amendola will have his new orchestral work performed in conjunction with the Oakland East Bay Symphony as one the symphony's New Visions/New Vistas premieres. Amendola will be joined by Nels Cline and Trevor Dunn."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Fishing For Bobby's Treasure Chess 6:21

2. Basquiat Ball 2:25

3. Many People 7:52

4. Cookie's Coffee 5:00

5. Shards Of Surmountability 7:05

6. Safe-Crackers 7:50

7. We Got Noh Rhythm 2:00

8. Here's What Happened 6:42

9. An Exhilaration Of Larks, And Their Discovery Of Fire 4:33

10. After Boulez, A Doorbell With Perfect Pitch 1:12

11. Teleparallelogram 4:44

12. Of Man In Rach 4:26

13. Snowfall 4:56
descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Vancouver pianist Paul Plimley and his comrades, bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Scott Amendola, have issued a tough little gem of a recording in Safe-Crackers. Plimley's pianism ranges in voice from fierce avant-garde improvisation to the modal melodic freedom pioneered by Ornette Coleman to neo-classicism's great jazz proponents like George Shearing to the open tonal architectures first sung by his mentor and fellow Canadian, Paul Bley; he has never allowed himself to be pinned stylistically or improvisationally to any one format. Safe-Crackers is a wonderfully diverse album that offers advanced studies in jazz counterpoint: ("Many People" and "Safe-Crackers"), expansive modal tone poems ("Shards of Surmountability"), vanguard microtonal improvisation, and humor ("After Boulez, a Doorbell With a Perfect Pitch" and "We Got Noh Rhythm"), and inspired renderings of jazz classics (Shearing's "Snowfall" played from memory, not a chart), and virtually everything in between, fromblowing to whispering. The easy, fluid rapport between all three members of this trio is remarkably seamless and easy -- particularly since Amendola has been with the group for only a short time. Ellis seems to know exactly where Plimley wants to go and Amendola assures them both that it's possible. Indeed, in advanced-harmonic studies like "Teleparallelogram," Plimley sets out from C (augmented seventh) and moves through all the notes between there and E flat, creating new scalar models in interval, and Ellis calls up the root chords from each mode and places them rhythmically at Amendola's feet -- it's not supposed to happen like that -- who in turn offers sharp or rounded accents on the one or three depending on the dynamics created by Plimley, and there it comes round again. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this album is its absolute lack of tension no matter how hard the blowing gets: everything comes off free and easy, whether it's a chromatic series of advanced arpeggiosbeing underlined by snare and an upper-register pizzicato bassline, or a slow, shivering set of chords, brushed lightly by a harmonic counterpoint before being whispered in rhythm; all are treated with the same ease and generosity, giving the music itself the absolute maximum space to make itself heard. A wonderful introduction to Plimley's original voice and compositional frame for newcomers; and an essential listen for fans."-Thom Jurek, All Music

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