Paul Bley: Closer

Track

Closer

Artist

Paul Bley (piano)

CD

Open to Love (ECM 1023)

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Musicians:

Paul Bley (piano).

Composed by Carla Bley

.

Recorded: Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo, Norway September 11, 1972

Albumcoverpaulbleyotlove

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Solo jazz piano was a lost art during the 1960s. Most of the leading keyboardists of the era preferred to work in a trio setting, or in the context of larger combos. But this all changed in the early 1970s, a turbulent period when the entire jazz piano vocabulary was in process of redefinition and reconfiguration. Only a few months before Paul Bley undertook this seminal session, Keith Jarrett had entered the same studio in Oslo and recorded his monumental Facing You solo piano project. Around this same time, Chick Corea also made a pilgrimage to Norway where he spent two days recording his Piano Improvisations albums. These works forged a new path for jazz, one in which European and African-American elements sought a renewed symbiosis, and where the conflicting paradigms of freedom and lyricism entered into a fruitful détente. Bley’s introspective work on “Closer” – which, despite the name, was the LP’s opener – still sounds fresh and provocative a generation later. Every note carries an ineffable rightness, and Bley’s rich piano tone never sounded better.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 JD // Aug 15, 2008 at 12:23 AM
    Can we preview some music please?