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4.0 out of 5 stars Paul Bley - In The Evenings Out There, 3 May 2012
This review is from: In the Evenings out There (Audio CD)
The quartet consists of Paul Bley on piano, John Surman on baritone sax and bass clarinet, Gary Peacock on bass and Tony Oxley on percussion. They play as a quartet on two tracks only, the rest consisting of solo pieces and duos. Paul and Gary are extensively featured, the other two less so. Of the quartet tracks 'Interface' is slow, almost motionless and quiet, 'Article 4' slightly more aggressive, but still not what you would call lively.
There are three duos, bass and drums, piano and bass, and piano and drums. 'Speak Easy', with bass and drums is very successful, Peacock playing intriguing lines, 'Fair Share' has both Bley and Peacock combining well in a genuine duo, but 'Spe-cu-lay-ting' is very brief and little more than a succession of noises off by both Bley and Oxley.
Of the solo pieces, Bley has four. 'Afterthoughts' is a Keith Jarrett type rhapsody which is pleasant but not particularly original, 'Soft Touch' is much more demanding, as is 'Married Alive', and 'Note Police' an angular, almost heavy piece that owes a lot to modern classical piano. Overall he plays extremely well, as does Gary Peacock on his two solos, 'Portrait Of A Silence' and 'Tomorrow Today'. He retains the ability to make the bass a genuine solo instrument. John Surman, in his solo piece plays well, and with more life than in his two quartet pieces. He retains a beautiful sound on both his instruments but over the years has tended more and more to produce a sort of static recital when he solos, and this is evident here.
Oxley plays well, but is discrete and not much featured. Nonetheless his contributions are of value.
It's a very pleasant record. You could almost call it well mannered. It takes on board all the innovations introduced into the music by the avant garde in the sixties, but they could never be called pleasant or well mannered, and the present disc is the loser for that. It is well played and interesting throughout, beautifully recorded and presented, and, if you like the ECM house style, it is a very good example of it. It's just that I miss what these guys were doing 40 or so years ago, but hey, times change.
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In the Evenings out There
In the Evenings out There by Paul Bley (Audio CD - 2008)
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