Paul Bley

Hyman Paul Bley CM, (November 10, 1932 to January 3, 2016), was a Canadian pianist who is best known for his contributions in the free jazz movement of 1960s and his influence on the playing of trio. Bley was a US resident for many years. His music was known for its strong senses of space and melodic voicing. Paul Bley was born in Montreal (Quebec), Canada. His adoptive parents were Betty Marcovitch from Romania and Joe Bley who owns an embroidery factory. Bley started the Jazz Workshop in Montreal in the 1950s, where he performed on piano and recorded with Charlie Parker, a be-bop alto jazz saxophonist. He performed at the time with Lester Young and Ben Webster, tenor saxophonists. He was the bassist for Charles Mingus’ 1953 album Charles Mingus and His Orchestra. Mingus also produced the Introducing Paul Bley album that year with Art Blakey and Mingus. In 1960, Bley recorded piano with the Charles Mingus Group. He hired Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman (alto saxophonist), Charlie Haden (bassist), and Billy Higgins (drummer) to perform at the Hillcrest Club, California in 1958. He was part of the Jimmy Giuffre 3 in the 1960s, with Giuffre on clarinet and Steve Swallow as bassist. The group’s repertoire also included compositions by Carla Bley, his ex-wife and pianist. The music evolved towards free jazz and chamber jazz. Bley also recorded and toured with Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophonist), during this time. This culminated in the RCA Victor album Sonny Meets Hawk! Coleman Hawkins, tenor saxophonist. Bley played a key role in the 1964 formation of the Jazz Composers Guild. This co-operative group brought together many New York jazz musicians including Roswell Rudd and Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp (Cecil Taylor), Carla Bley, Michael Mantler, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Ra, Sun Rap, and others. The guild hosted weekly concerts and was a platform for the 1964 “jazz revolution”. Bley became interested in electronic possibilities in the late 1960s. Bley was the first to use Moog synthesizers and performed with them in front of an audience at Philharmonic Hall, New York City, on December 26, 1969. The “Bley-Peacock Synthesizer Show” performance was performed by him and Annette Peacock. Annette, his second wife, had composed much of his personal repertoire from 1964. Annette played on the Dual Unity recordings (released under “Annette”)

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