Recorded at Kampo Audio and Sorcerer Sound, New York, New York on August 23 & 24 and September 1, 1993. Includes liner notes by Ralph Simon.
Paul Bley has spent most of his 40-plus year career exploring the standard piano. He made a few forays into the realm of electricity, both on the electric piano and with synthesizers, primarily in the early seventies. 20 years later he recorded SYNTH THESIS, playing both piano and synthesizers. The fourteen relatively short pieces (the longest one clocks in at six minutes, most are in the two and three minute range) are largely piano-based, with the synthesizer parts seemingly improvised afterwards. There are a few exceptions--"Polygons" (the aforementioned lengthy piece) has no piano at all until the last minute. While SYNTH THESIS wouldn't be the Bley album to start with, it is nonetheless interesting to hear his melodic and improvisational sensibilities applied to other sonorities.
Down Beat (4/95, p.48) - 5 Stars - Excellent - "...he abjures bombast and excess for creative timbral selectivity and rhythmic spaciousness; his independent hands produce dramatically evocative contrasts....the synths sound utterly fresh in this context. Bley's winsome voicings...highlight his unique sense of harmony and line..."
JazzTimes (4/95, pp.84-85) - "...[SYNTH THESIS] finds Bley making intelligent and sensitive use of a variety of synth sounds....This is Bley's most finely integrated multi-keyboard statement to date..."