Gary Peacock shares front-cover billing with Paul Bley on this 1970 session, but drummer Paul Motian is also present on the first five tracks. (Billy Elgart replaces Motian on the remaining three.) There's a curiously straight-ahead, tempo-driven feel to this short and sweet disc, quite unlike the free aesthetic that Bley, Peacock, and Motian put forward when they returned to ECM as a trio on 1999's Not Two, Not One. That's not to say the music is conventional: there are two tunes apiece by Bley, Ornette Coleman, and Annette Peacock and one by Gary Peacock, in addition to the lone standard, Jerome Kern's Long Ago and Far Away. (The finale, Albert's Love Theme by Annette Peacock, stands out as the most abstract of the bunch.) The brittle, lo-fi sound doesn't detract from the album's historical value. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi
When the enigmatic yet clearly inspired trio of pianist Paul Bley (pictured), bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian settled in for a gig at Birdland recently, their first gig together in New York City in several years, the subject was trio psychology, in this room, at this moment. All three players, together and apart and in assorted combinations, embrace the sanctity and the sensuality of The Moment. Some special alchemy occurs, however, with this particular grouping of players. Time gets massaged and dislodged, structures come in and out of focus, and you get the feeling that a real-time experiment is underway, its end result unknown to anyone, on either side of the stage.
[Note: Besides the solo piano albums, I would pick The Floater Syndrome (rec. 1962/ SAVOY JAZZ ZDS 4427) aforementioned Touching, latter Virtuosi and this album are the best of Paul Bley recordings. According to Japanese CD reissue liner notes, Bley brought the tape himself to ECM. This album was the second album from the ECM inception -- the very first album came out from ECM was Paul Bley With Gary Peacock.] verso
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