Paul Bley/Gary Peacock: Mindset

Consummate musicians both technically and conceptually, Bley and Peacock are experts at establishing a space that they can function within. Call it mindset or whatever you wish, but it results in organic music that is an extension of the individual.

For the most part, the program’s 14 compositions unfold in groups of threes (a solo work featuring each player, followed by a duet), a scheme that lends a sense of overall unity to the project. Seeming to relish the freedom afforded by the absence of other musicians, both players explore timbre and tonality throughout their respective solos, which marry thoughtful phrasing, assorted textures, and contrasts. “How Long,” the first of the duets, begins with an extended, longing statement by Bley that eventually transforms into an eloquent dialog between piano and bass. In contrast, “Duality” begins with a gently grooving vamp that gradually develops in various ways (including acquiring a modicum of dissonance), and then slows. Although “Where Can UB” has a straight-up blues veneer, Bley and Peacock freely stretch the form into harmonic and melodic territory that eliminates the threat of conventionality and provides some of the collaboration’s most memorable concluding moments.