Paul Bley (b. 1932) has always been well ahead of the curve. In New York in the late 1950s to mid-'60s Bley and Cecil Taylor were the two most consistently adventuresome pianists on that highly-charged scene. During the 1960s Bley introduced many important compositions written by Carla Bley (his first wife) and Annette Peacock (his second), both of whose works figure prominently in Circles
. Bley had previously recorded some of these pieces--but never quite like this. In yet another example of his musical foresight, he pioneered the use in jazz of the then-still-new ARP synthesizer. On the first half of this disc he's accompanied by several young, open-eared rhythm sections, while his bass-and-drums partners for the set's remainder are the inestimable Dave Holland and Barry Altschul, the drummer-percussionist most highly attuned to Bley's conception. Heard herein on RMI electric piano and grand piano as well as synthesizer, Bley successfully transfers his splintered lines, broken rhythms, and foreboding, pointillistic ballads to forge a new electronic landscape.
The Archangel; Nothing Ever Was, Anyway; Gary, Snakes, Parks, Circles, El Cordobes, Capricorn, King Korn, Dreams, Syndrome, Gesture Without Plot, Ictus
with Dick Youngstein, Glenn Moore, Frank Tusa, Steve Haas, Bobby Moses, Dave Holland, and Barry Altschul