Originally posted on June 23, 2008
In 1965 ESP released pianist Paul Bley’s Closer. It was a rather short but very succinct album that featured Steve Swallow on bass and Barry Altschul on drums. Bley was in the earlier part of his career but had already been influential as a musician that combined the freedom of post-Ornette ensembles with an introspective musical stance.
The album has recently been re-released and it still sounds modern. There are little gems of improvisation throughout. Songs by Carla Bley, Annette Peacock, Ornette and Bley himself give the listener a whirlwind tour through the pianist’s trio conception and the interaction between group members would create a model for what could be done in the free piano trio context for years to come.