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Not Two Not One
Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian
Not Two Not One
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

In the early '60s, pianist Paul Bley's trios did much to expand the role of bass and drums, developing a conversational intimacy at the intersection of bop, modal, and free jazz. One of the best of those groups consisted o...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian
Title: Not Two Not One
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ecm Import
Original Release Date: 1/1/1999
Re-Release Date: 10/19/1999
Album Type: Import
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Modern Postbebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731455944723, 0731455944723, 781182167025

In the early '60s, pianist Paul Bley's trios did much to expand the role of bass and drums, developing a conversational intimacy at the intersection of bop, modal, and free jazz. One of the best of those groups consisted of bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian (Bill Evans's rhythm section in the same period), but their only recording as a trio was part of Paul Bley with Gary Peacock from 1963. While the two have worked extensively with Bley in different settings through the years, this 1998 meeting was the first time they had recorded as a trio in 35 years. They touch on the previous session with Bley's "Fig Foot," a taut rethinking of the blues, but this is much more than a reunion. Each of these musicians is a virtuoso of space and the telling gesture, an inspired inventor possessed of an edgy creativity and willing to lead this sometimes pensive, sometimes rapturous music into new directions. Along with the sheer sonic beauty, there's probing, too, as in the alternately tense and playful, overlapping dialogue of "Set Up Set." Bley's gift for spontaneous melody is frequently apparent, while Peacock's unaccompanied "Entelechy" highlights an expressive depth of which few bassists are capable. --Stuart Broomer

CD Reviews

State of the art
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 05/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Paul Bley's music continues to pour forth--he's a rival to Anthony Braxton & Steve Lacy in the sheer fecundity of his imagination & size of his recorded oeuvre. But if you want to catch him at his best, grab this 1999 disc with Gary Peacock & Paul Motian. It's a surprisingly punchy disc: this is certainly one of Paul Motian's best & most forceful performances from the 1990s, & when the trio is working at full steam, as on "Fig Foot", it's awesome. ("Fig Foot"? Don't ask me what it means. I first spotted the phrase in the nonsensical liner notes to Bley's classic 1962 disc _Footloose!_ Worth comparing this version of the tune with earlier renditions--I'm particularly partial to the more relaxed version on John Surman's _Adventure Playground_, which also features Bley & Peacock.) -- Throughout, Bley's characteristic pensiveness gives way to abstractly funky excursions, sharply etched chords or contrapuntal clouds of notes; he also gets a lot of mileage out of the extra low notes on the Bosendorfer he's working on. Peacock is magnificent throughout, especially on the solo piece "Entelechy". The disc ends beautifully with "Don't You Know", which I suspect is one of Bley's encrypted standards--a themeless variant of "Goodbye", a tune he'd memorably performed on the 2nd album by the Jimmy Giuffre Trio back in 1961. Then there's a minute-long revisiting of the opening "Not Zero" as a coda.Gorgeous stuff. A small pity that ECM packaged it in their usual dour fashion--drab monochrome image of some highrises & a cloudy sky on the cover, & inside the usual cheerless black & white session photographs. Such images belie the real heat & robustness of the music. This disc is a modern classic.One last word: ignore the JAZZIZ review--Ben Watson should stick to Frank Zappa. When he writes poetry he uses the pseudonym "Out to Lunch", fittingly enough."
Not Four Stars, Not Three Stars
p dizzle | 12/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great artistic recording from three underappreciated musicians. Bley, Peacock, and Motian co-improvise in a challenging yet very listenable way, focusing heavily on the darker tones of their instruments. They are sensitive, mature musicians who really know how to play off of each other, and they manage to push the envelope of acoustic jazz without alienating the listener. I especially reccomend tracks 1 and 4."
Soulful introspection
p dizzle | augusta, georgia, USA | 05/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"mr. bley has been recording jazz for nearly 50 years and he just seems to be getting better and better. his style has changed and evolved over the decades, moving from cool bop (check out "introducing paul bley") to forays into free and now with introspective searching. from the first notes of "not zero-in three parts" thrummed out on the lowest keys of the piano, mr. bley draws you in deeply. you have to listen to each track, allow it to unfold, find where his poet's ear is going to take you, and enjoy the ride. highlights along the way are "fig foot" with its irresistable swing, the irony of the completely instrumental "vocal tracked" and the reprise (sort of) "zero in one part." mr. bley is more than ably assisted by two great sidemen. gary peacock is his usual strong support on bass, and paul motian continues to grab attention from the drum kit, but each allows mr. bley ample room to unfold his mesmerizing ideas. practice really does make perfect."