This release contains the two long out of print sessions made by the Paul Bley Trio for the Savoy label, which were recorded in two sessions on August 17, 1962 and September 12, 1963.
By the time these recordings were made, the Canadian pianist (born in 1932) had already performed with Charles Mingus, Jimmy Giuffre and Sonny Rollins. However, these trio recordings would mark the direction he would follow in the future : he relocated to Los Angeles in 1957, where his bookings included a lengthy engagement at the Hillcrest Club with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Billy Higgins and Charlie Haden.
02. When Will The Blues Leave?
03. Around Again
05. Crossroads [A.k.a. The Circle With The Hole In The Middle]
07. Ballad No.1
08. King Korn
09. King Korn [Alternate Take]
10. Ballad No.2
11. Around Again [Second Version]
15. Ballad No.4
Total time: 72:50 min.
These recordings had been originally issued in three different album:
- "Footloose" (Savoy MG 12182)
- "Floater" (Savoy SJL 1148)
- "Syndrome" (Savoy SJL 1175)
Personnel: Paul Bley (p), Steve Swallow (b) and Pete LaRoca (d).
Both sessions recorded in New York, on August 17, 1962 [tracks #1-5] and September 12, 1963 [tracks #6-15]
"The sound of Paul Bley's trio brings to mind Lennie Tristano immediately as this recording begins, and for once Bley is playing with a heavy enough touch so that an appropriately dark-toned curtain shrouds the music; out of this bursts a series of blues choruses that are incredibly inspired. Thus begins one of Bley's most enjoyable albums, a recording from New York City in the early '60s that has been issued in close to ten different versions. The acquisition of these tapes by the French BYG label right away spells trouble, especially for anyone hoping to collect royalties. Jazz fans will encounter several different cover photographs for these loose "Footloose!" releases, even involving several different pipes being smoked by Bley. What pipe did he actually smoke for these sessions? For once imperfect recording quality greatly enhances the music. Pete LaRoca's aggressive cymbal work is all over the place, and it is joyous. [...] Bley is at a juncture in his playing here that might be inevitably the most pleasing to fans of his different periods. There are plenty of passages where he utilizes space in his playing, but he hasn't gotten to the point of approximating slow motion, utilizing more bouncy medium tempos. The playing has plenty of intricacies about it, but it isn't offered up soaked in the sound of an expensive ECM reverb unit, sparing it an uncomfortable aura of preciousness. The piano is even a touch out of tune, giving some of the tunes a Floyd Cramer quality."
Eugene Chadbourne -All Music Guide
"Paul Bley's Savoy recordings were an extension of the innovations of Bill Evans and served as a transition to the avant-garde. Bley, who would offer other pianists a more lyrical alternative to Cecil Taylor in playing free music, engaged in very close interaction with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete LaRoca on these influential recordings; so close in fact that it is surprising to realize that this particular trio only really existed in the recording studios. This Lp (which, as with its companion "Syndrome", is long overdue to be fully reissued on CD), features the trio on three of Bley's originals plus two songs apiece from a pair of composers whose work was rarely "covered" this early on: Ornette Coleman and Carla Bley. With such strong yet challenging melodies as "When Will The Blues Leave," "Floater" and "The Circle With The Hole In The Middle," Bley and his sidemen were free to engage in advanced and intuitive improvisations that barely held on to the idea of chord structures but were quite logical and generally fairly melodic. Highly recommended."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"Paul Bley's 1962-1963 trio (which only officially came together during a couple of Savoy recording sessions) has long been underrated, partly because half of its recordings were unreleased at the time. Bley's group with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete LaRoca featured the three musicians often functioning as equals during group improvisations that were generally melodic but never too predictable. On this LP (which is a companion to their other Savoy album "Floater"), the group performs three of Paul Bley's tunes plus five by his then-wife Carla Bley (who at the time was quite unknown). Although these songs (such as "Cousins," "King Korn" and "Vashkar") never caught on, the music is quite innovative and occupies its own niche in jazz history."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide