Canadian pianist Paul Bley has died aged 83. His record company ECM confirmed that the musician, who lived in the US, passed away at his home in 3 January. One of the jazz world’s greatest and most innovative artists, over a 60-year career he released over 100 albums, toured widely, and collaborated with jazz greats including Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Lee Konitz, Sonny Rollins and Evan Parker.
He was a key part of the free jazz revolution in New York in the 1960s and an early explorer of the Moog synthesiser’s jazz potential, featuring electronics in his music from the late 60s.
“Bley’s command of the keyboard, the density of his improvisations... and the breadth of his knowledge make him a massive figure in jazz - though not as widely celebrated as some,” wrote John Fordham, reviewing a solo show of his in London in October 1987.
Here’s one of his most celebrated recordings, Ornette Coleman’s Ramblin’.
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