March 1997

Paul Bley Trio
Modern Chant-Inspiration from Gregorian Chant
MusicMasters

Paul Bley has made a career-and a lot of good music-out of bedeviling our expectations. Here is yet another example-beginning with the CD's title, which might lead one to expect lots of parallel fifths and other borrowings from the newly repopularized music of ancient monasteries. What one gets instead is vintage Bley; we'll credit whatever inspiration he may choose, as long as it delivers the like of this set. Working with David Eyges on electric cello and Bruce Ditmas on drums, Bley is a fountain of ideas, sometimes suggesting divergent harmonic and melodic directions, sometimes reveling in the sound of a lone tone cluster ringing through the pulse. Eyges takes full advantage of the range of his instrument, moving between rhythmic and melodic contributions with grace and ingenuity. Ditmas respects the flexible time sense that Bley brings to bear, contributing texture and color as well as pulse to the proceedings.

Originally published in March 1997
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