Intuitive yet intelligent musicmaking
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 08/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc documents the results of a spontaneous encounter between Paul Bley, Evan Parker & Barre Phillips in ECM's studio; the men hadn't met before, nor did they plan out anything in advance. It's a tribute to their musicianship & unexpected kinship that the music turned out as harmoniously & beautifully as it did; while all three players are "free" players, Bley & Parker have worked at virtually opposed ends of the music--Bley the quieter, melodic end, Parker the options left in the wake of Coltrane & Sanders. The music (perhaps not surprisingly given its appearance on ECM) mostly adheres to Bley's territory--it's delicate, & often warmly emotional rather than abstract. There are touches of Tristanoesque interplay--including "Marsh Tides", a tribute to Warne Marsh--& generally the feel is slightly "jazzier" than one expects from an album on which Evan Parker plays. There are spots where he sounds like Steve Lacy or even Lester Young. But there are pricklier spots too, like the terrific "Sprung", where Bley's scrabbling on the keyboard is the perfect reply to Parker's furious soprano line, or the bass-and-tenor "Vine Laces", where Parker & Phillips keep unspooling the same motif without stop....This is a fine disc--one of the best of the 1990s, I think. One can only hope that these musicians record again (they did tour as a group after the recording was made)."
David Conklin | Albuquerque, NM USA | 11/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As far as I can determine, this group (Paul Bley, Evan Parker, and Barre Phillips) have made only two recordings, both on ECM. This was their first. Although this music will certainly not appeal to everyone, I can highly recommend it to anyone comfortable in avant-garde. The collective improvisations of these three veterans make for some fascinating--and often very lovely--music. This session sounds--and apparently was--very spontaneous. For me, the first listen was a little off-putting, but during the second play it began making sense. By the third play I was really enjoying it--in fact, it was hard to turn off the stereo and go to bed. Now, almost two years later, I can say that this is one of my favorite avant-jazz recordings. It's also one that's relatively easy on the ears!
Although this music is "free" it's not without structure, and the interplay is delightful. The fact that bassist Phillips had previously played several times with both Bley and Parker (separately) likely improved the outcome and helped prevent the tunes from becoming more chaotic.
Most ECM CDs have very scanty liner notes; this one has a lengthy essay by Steve Lake describing the interrelated backgrounds of these three musicians, the history of this genre, and how it all came together on this disc.
I've more recently acquired SANKT GEROLD, the later recording made by this Trio. It's a more polished and in some ways a more impressive outing. TIME WILL TELL seems more spontaneous and is perhaps more charming. Both are excellent."