Paul Bley, Eugene Russell (p), Dave Pike (vib), John Goodman, Charlie Haden (b), Lenny McBrowne, Reed Vaughan (d)
Reference: FSRCD 515
Bar code: 8427328605151
With the addition, in 1957, of vibist Dave Pike to what used to be a trio, the 24-year-old Canadian pianist, Paul Bley, formed the exciting quartet that recorded this excellent album, titled "Solemn Meditation," for Gene Norman.
Pike had a passion and jazz feeling that fired the band, and the contrast with Bleys angular, two-handed approach and time, more subtly pulsing than overtly driving, worked. Drummer McBrowne remained the guts of the group, driving his colleagues with intelligence and imagination, while Haden was a constantly growing bass player in close rapport with his teammate, and a reliable timekeeper. Although they lasted less than a year together, they played the kind of uncompromising jazz that graces this session.
The quartet placed a premium on originality, evident not only in the material chosen, which emphasised original composition, but also in exploring new methods of improvisation. And in both areas they displayed an unyielding commitment to a basically swinging conception that allowed them to gel and breathe.
"This early quartet date from pianist Paul Bley is somewhat historic because it was the recording debut of both bassist Charlie Haden and vibraphonist Dave Pike. With drummer Lenny McBrowne completing the group, Bley explores a lot of unlikely material in an early postbop manner including Bill Harris' "Everywhere," Roy Eldridge's "I Remember Harlem" and some group originals. The liner notes by Carla Borg (soon to be Carla Bley), who has her "O Plus One" recorded by the group, are also noteworthy."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide