Paul Bley

COMPOSERS: Paul Bley
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Paul Bley
WORKS: Solo in Mondsee
PERFORMER: Paul Bley
CATALOGUE NO: 1786
Paul Bley’s gorgeous 1965 album Closer stood out from the contemporary landscape of dense, hortatory fire-music, demonstrating that space, silence, shading and resonance are important, too. This side of his music reached some kind of apotheosis with his last solo album for ECM, 1972’s Open, To Love. Mondsee is being plugged as a belated sequel to Open which, with masterly improvisations based on seven beautiful, affecting, well-crafted tunes composed by Carla Bley, Annette Peacock and Bley himself, was a hard act to follow. As yet I’m not sure Mondsee matches it, but it rates highly both as a primer on Bley’s style and as a musical experience in its own right. Its ten tracks tantalise with fragments of familiar melodies, Legrand’s ‘The Summer Knows’ among them. Barry Witherden

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