Jan 5, 2016
Sad news from the family of the great Paul Bley:
Paul Bley, renowned jazz pianist, died January 3, 2016 at home with his family. Born November 10, 1932 in Montreal, QC, he began music studies at the age of five. At 13, he formed the “Buzzy Bley Band.” At 17, he took over for Oscar Peterson at the Alberta Lounge, invited Charlie Parker to play at the Montreal Jazz Workshop (which he co-founded) made a film with Stan Kenton and then headed to NYC to attend Julliard.
His international career has spanned seven decades. During that time, he released over 100 albums, toured widely, and collaborated with jazz greats including Lester Young, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Jimmy Giuffre, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorious and many others. He is considered a master of the trio, but as exemplified by his solo piano albums, Paul Bley is preeminently a pianists' pianist.
He always thought in terms larger than himself, helping to form the influential Jazz Composers Guild in New York City in 1964, a a co-operative organization which brought together the likes of Roswell Rudd, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, his ex-wife Carla Bley and Sun Ra, among other figures who would define the jazz avant-garde. He created what might well be considered the first music video with the multi-media initiative Improvising Artists in the early 1970's, working with videographer Carol Goss to record and preserve live recordings. Before jazz-fusion took place, Paul had investigated the musical possibilities of the Moog synthesizer, releasing albums and performing in halls with the equipment in the late 60's.
He is survived by his wife of forty three years, Carol Goss, their daughters, Vanessa Bley and Angelica Palmer, grandchildren Felix and Zoletta Palmer, as well as daughter, Solo Peacock. Private memorial services will be held in Stuart, FL, Cherry Valley, NY and wherever you play a Paul Bley record. My podcast tribute to his music will appear tomorrow.