“5 STARS! . . . timbral selectivity and rhythmic spaciousness . . . dramatically evocative contrasts . . .
the synths sound utterly fresh . . .unique sense of harmony and line.” – Down Beat Magazine
Jazz star and keyboard pioneer Paul Bley brings his innovative creativity to this Postcards Records album, Paul Bley: Synth Thesis. His organic blend of traditional acoustic sounds and electronic experimentation culminate in a unique, sonically surprising, and compelling, futuristic experience. Consisting of acoustic piano and synthesizers, the recording is Bley’s first electro-acoustic album in twenty years, and is every bit as brilliantly original as we have come to expect from this great piano maestro.
“. . . intelligent and sensitive . . . Bley’s most finely integrated multi-keyboard statement to date.” — JazzTimes
“…a wonderful world of music . . . His creativity never seems to stop.” –– Jazz Life Magazine (Japan)
Sometimes the best improvised music sounds as if it was meticulously composed, and it is precisely in this spirit that Jazz pianist / composer Paul Bley created the Postcards Records CD Paul Bley Synth Thesis. Paul’s collaborations over the years with such artists as Charlie Parker, Pat Metheny, Lester Young, & Charles Mingus put him in the top ranks of the Jazz pantheon, and this album naturally progresses his trendsetting path into the future.
1. Gentle Man
Keyboard pioneer Paul Bley has had a profound decades-long influence on jazz piano. Synth Thesis, a completely improvised work, performed entirely without overdubbing, represents a major step into the musical future. In Synth Thesis, Bley’s first electronic recording in 20 years, the worlds of synthesizers and piano blend for a unique, sonically surprising and compelling, future-oriented experience — as brilliantly original as we have come to expect from this great maestro.
“5 STARS! – This album does not receive the credit it is due. It is in my opinion the pinacle of Free Jazz as it moves into the fully ripe synthetic age. The duality of the synthetic sound and the dependable age-old piano presented here is unheard of in any music I’ve listened to. And it is precisely the question that Free Jazz poses. The relationship between the instrumental and the synthetic – the physical and the electronic – has not been adequately bridged. Paul Bley is in direct communication with these two realities in Synth Thesis. He has shown there is life in this electronic landscape.” — Daniel Livadas
About Paul Bley
“Synthesizers have undergone an extraordinary development since my recordings for Fantasy/Milestone in the 70’s,” notes Bley, who also played at the first keyboard synthesizer performance at New York’s Philharmonic Hall in 1978. “Today, synthesizers can play more than one note at the same time, they have memory, and the keyboard has touch control.” Showing his artistic command of this technology, Bley spontaneously composed music which is both melodically compelling and as future-oriented as we have come to expect from this great maestro.
Bley’s profound, decades-long influence on the entire scope of jazz piano has been extraordinary, and he has played, as he puts it, “everywhere, with everybody”. Among the great musicians he has collaborated with are guitarists Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, and John Abercrombie; saxophonists Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, and Lester Young; trumpet players Miles Davis, Don Cherry, Harry Edison, and Roy Eldridge; drummers Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Milford Graves, and Paul Motian; and bassists Charlie Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, Percy Heath, Gary Peacock, Steve Swallow, and Jaco Pastorius. The list could go on and on.
A resident of upstate New York, Bley is in musical demand around the world, performing in such diverse locations as Montreal, Istanbul, Biarritz, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Venice, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Oslo, Helsinki, Los Angeles, and New York within the space of a single year.
Synth Thesis is a major step into the musical future: as the title of the last composition on the disc has it, it is “Real Magic.”