|Recorded at Studio Tempo, Montreal, Canada on July 4th, 2000. Includes liner notes by Len Dobbin.
Paul Bley has recorded numerous excellent solo albums over the decades. Stepping into the 21st century, he does so again. BASICS offers 10 original tunes and a version of "Monk's Mood" by (naturally) Thelonious Monk. The opening "Love Lost" accurately sets the stage for what is an exceedingly romantic hour. By turns laidback, bluesy, regal, and melancholy, this is a worthy companion to Bley's classic 1972 recording OPEN, TO LOVE (a towering work by which many of his subsequent albums are judged).
Far from being just another fine Bley album, BASICS is an essential title. It is a perfect introduction to his music as well as a summation of his long career to date. The cover photo of soft and undulating curtains, cropped to near-abstraction, accurately conveys the music within. The album is warmly recorded, with a clarity and dynamic range practically recreating the actual room in which the notes resounded and lingered.