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6 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning solo piano program, 29 Jun 2012
By 
os - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Open, To Love (Audio CD)
This is a beautiful album of solo piano pieces from 1972 that is surely a must for every serious music fan's collection.Lovers of the Chic Corea and Keith Jarrett piano recitals where the focus is on improvisation and mood over formal composition will find themselves right at home here.

Bley's has a very distinctive approach to the piano. Bley eschews extraneous notes or dexterity for it's own sake in order to find the true meaning of the composition he is currently playing.By playing less, the music is freed up, suddenly the sound picture is instantly richer and more open to dynamic expression. Tensions within the music can be revealed and explored before their eventual resolution.This probably sounds all a bit stilted and pretentious,(for which I apologize)but what I am trying to say is that Bley is a great artist with a particular vision,whose music is easier to listen to and enjoy, then it is to describe. Bley incorporates jazz and blues into his work, but there is something particular to him that remains in his playing. That is, that he allows himself time to think and feel when he is at the keyboard.His music has a sense of space and openness to possibility,a calmness that allows him to play only those notes that are needed to make the piece work, no more or less.Often he will play a note or chord and it will simply hang in the air,waiting a companion phrase or idea to help fulfill it's musical purpose.This makes for an absorbing and dare I say,highly enjoyable listening program, one that you'll find yourself returning to again and again, once you've got the bug.

On every level, this album scores- fantastic playing and composition supported by a great piano sound. Outstanding release.Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great pianist at his best, 12 Sep 2007
By 
Yim (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Open, to Love (Audio CD)
This is my favourite jazz piano solo album. I have never heard solo improvising with so much warmth and emotion. 'Ida Lupino' is particularly memorable, but all the tracks are excellent. Bley has also recently recorded a new piano solo album for ECM, 'Solo in Mondsee'. It is very good but 'Open, to Love' will, I suspect, remain his most loved work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A singular thing? (II), 11 Sep 2010
By 
N. Jones "Nic The Pen" (Oxford, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Open, To Love (Audio CD)
In a way Paul Bley's approach to the piano is an antithesis to that of his fellow Canadian Oscar Peterson. Where Peterson was showy, albeit it in a manner underscored by fierce swing, Bley is spare, but without being diffident, the purveyor of a radically different musical sensibility.

Listen to `Closer' on this album and you hear a man not afraid of silence. Again the contrast is pertinent. Where Peterson would perhaps be intent on single-handedly covering all the bases, Bley lets the melody sing through the simple expedient of taking it at a stately tempo.

On Annette Peacock's `Nothing Ever Was, Anyway' he expands -probably not the right term- upon the approach on a piece that might have been written deliberately to justify being called enigmatic. He does it such justice that perhaps no other pianist could come close, at least not in terms of depth of interpretation.

Bley's extraordinary gift for interpretation is to the fore also on Carla Bley's `Seven' where he picks at the melody like a man for whom the very sound of the piano is something else. His variations on it -hardly an adequate term in view of what he does- are highly personal, leading to the impression that composer and performer rarely get so close, at least not in improvised music terms.

After half a century plus in the music Bley's back catalogue is now deep, and sadly so little of it seems to be readily available. This of course has no bearing on the fact that this is one of his key titles. It just makes it more essential.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Peerless eloquence, 26 Aug 2014
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Open, To Love (Audio CD)
Track two on this early (1973) recording by the hermetic, discreet pianist Paul Bley - even his name gives little away - is by his ex-wife Carla Bley, is named after soulful forties film actress-director Ida Lupino, and is one of the most wonderful jazz piano solos I ever heard.
It has the lyricism associated with Keith Jarrett, occasionally a hint of the late trumpeter Don Ellis at his most lush and expansive, along with the persuasive sense of tasteful eloquence that could only be Paul Bley. It's simply a beautiful,
unforgettable number.
But then, there isn't a note of this very fine album I'd want to be without.
There are two tracks by Bley himself - Started & Harlem - with three by Carla Bley - Seven and Closer joining the above-mentioned tune - and two by Annette Peacock (another ex-wife - he must collect them) consisting of the title track and the closing tune Nothing Ever Was, Anyway.
All are wondrous.
The ECM production is as gleaming as you`d expect, though thankfully not too anaemic, and Bley plays with such attention to both detail and texture that this is one of those albums that is quite simply a (very) pure, unadulterated pleasure to listen to.
Another reviewer mentions Bill Evans. For me, Bley sounds the less cerebral of the two, and perhaps the less traditional too (no reflection on Evans).
Bley was 39 when he recorded this set in Oslo. He`s now 83, and has made more good records than most, but this is surely one of the best.

Paul Bley, alone. Irresistible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oldie but goodie, 22 Nov 2010
By 
N. Dewolfe "Mme Dewolfe" (Den Haag, NL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Open, to Love (Audio CD)
If you're a fan of Paul Bley (or Carla Bley or Annette Peacock) this will interest you. Some beautiful piano playing. Some of the songs were written by Paul Bley some by Carla Bley, and others by Annette Peacock.

It's as satisfying today (maybe a bit more so) than it was when it came out in '73.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Misterious Mr Bley, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Open, To Love (Audio CD)
Paul Bley is a completely unique pianist, quirky and original and cantankerous. This is one of his iconic records from the 1970's and should be in everybody's Paul Bley collection. Not as bombastic as Keith Jarrett more a spin off from Bill Evans but his own individual voice.
If you like original jazz solo piano then this is for you.
Recommended
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Open, To Love
Open, To Love by Paul Bley (Audio CD - 2008)
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