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Paul Bley, Fragments CD cover artwork

Paul Bley, Fragments

Audio CD

Disk ID: 222123

Disk length: 54m 11s (9 Tracks)

Original Release Date: 1986

Label: Unknown

View all albums by Paul Bley...

Tracks & Durations

1. Memories 7:26
2. Monica Jane 7:09
3. Line Down 7:17
4. Seven 5:44
5. Closer 5:08
6. Once Around the Park 6:40
7. Hand Dance 2:54
8. For the Love of Sarah 5:46
9. Nothing Ever Was, Anyway 6:01

Note: The information about this album is acquired from the publicly available resources and we are not responsible for their accuracy.


One of Paul Bley's most beautiful group recordings, Fragments has a band designed by ECM producer Manfred Eicher, rather than by the pianist himself. Clearly, Eicher was thinking about sonority, as well as sympathy, when he created this quartet with John Surman on soprano and baritone saxophones and bass clarinet, Bill Frisell on guitar, and Paul Motian on drums. Surman and Frisell have varied palettes, and each can bring the kind of sonic focus to a note that is the hallmark of Bley's own spare lyricism. Bley introduces the group to some of the strongest tunes in his repertoire, including melodies that had been with him since the 1960s, Carla Bley's "Seven" and "Closer" and Annette Peacock's "Nothing Ever Was, Anyway." The resulting layered sonorities are striking. Piano, guitar, cymbals, and reeds seem to resonate within one another and mingle in the air, living in the overtones. While each player contributes notable solos, it's often the blending on heads and backdrops that stands out, as when Bley and Frisell support Surman on Motian's "Once Around the Park." Surman and Frisell have an uncanny way of coming together on each other's difficult tunes--soprano and guitar sounding like a single, highly complex voice on Frisell's "Monica Jane"--and they get baritone and guitar almost as close on Surman's "Line Down." Motian, who has worked extensively with Bley and Frisell during his career, plays sparingly, adding melodic detail and occasional animation. This is collectively realized music, but it expands on Bley's solo ballad playing in ways that few groups could. --Stuart Broomer

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