Paul Bley, Barrage

Bill Milkowski

By Bill Milkowski

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Paul Bley
We find this set of startling free jazz simply scintillating

This session was recorded shortly after the October Revolution in Jazz: the first avant-garde music festival in New York, organized by trumpeter Bill Dixon and held at the Cellar Café in Manhattan. Bley's group was one of about 40 bands that played the festival. No doubt wanting to document the energy from that important event, Bley went into the studio with free jazz drummer Milford Graves (two years before he began working regularly with Albert Ayler), bassist Eddie Gomez (two years before he joined the Bill Evans Trio), trumpeter Dewey Johnson (who would participate in John Coltrane's landmark recording Ascension the following summer) and alto saxophonist Marshall Allen (on rare leave from Sun Ra's Arkestra). Bley, who in 1958 briefly fronted a quintet in Los Angeles comprised of what was essentially Ornette Coleman's original quartet, shows a decided Ornette influence with this original music, much of which was composed by his wife, pianist Carla Bley.