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Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Not Two, Not One

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Paul Motion played drums on most of the classic Paul Bley and Gary Peacock, (recorded in 1964 but released by ECM in 1970) and though all three men record enough that they seem to live in studios these days, they have never had a trio reunion until now. In fact it takes until track four here, after two solos on piano and one on bass. The already elastic concept of trio playing exhibited on the earlier session has been stretched greatly in the intervening years. There is one remake, Bley’s “Fig Foot” (a.k.a. “Big Foot” or “Pig Foot”) but mostly we have the open-ended improvs that have become standard Bley fare in recent years. This is a consistently rewarding disc; perhaps inspired by the chance to play with these definitive partners-in-crime, Bley is the best I’ve heard from him in quite a while. Readers unfamiliar with this unique pianist should start with his early work, when his flair for the unpredictable was enhanced by a cubist approach to solo construction.