When Will The Blues Leave

Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian

EN / DE
In 1999, a year after recording the splendid reunion album Not Two, Not One, Paul Bley’s highly innovative  trio with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian took to the road with concerts on both sides of the Atlantic.  When Will The Blues Leave documents a terrific performance at the Aula Magna di Trevano in Switzerland. Included here, alongside the angular freebop Ornette Coleman title track, are Paul Bley’s “Mazatlan”, brimming over with energy, Gary Peacock’s evergreen “Moor”, Gershwin’s tender “I Loves You Porgy” and much more. All played with the subtlety of master improvisers, recasting the music in every moment.
1999, ein Jahr nach der Aufnahme des großartigen Reunion-Albums ‚Not Two, Not One‘, machte sich Paul Bley's hochinnovatives Trio mit Gary Peacock und Paul Motian zu Konzerten auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks auf den Weg.  ‚When Will The Blues Leave‘ dokumentiert einen herausragenden Auftritt in der Aula Magna, Trevano in der Schweiz. Dazu gehören neben dem kantigen Freebop-Titelstück von Ornette Coleman Paul Bleys energiegeladener "Mazatlan", Gary Peacocks Evergreen "Moor", Gershwins zartes "I Loves You Porgy" und viele mehr.... Alles gespielt mit der Subtilität von Meisterimprovisatoren, die die Musik in jedem Moment neu formen.
Featured Artists Recorded

March 1999, Aula Magna STS, Lugano

Original Release Date

31.05.2019

  • 1Mazatlan
    (Paul Bley)
    11:35
  • 2Flame
    (Paul Bley)
    05:37
  • 3Told You So
    (Paul Bley)
    09:48
  • 4Moor
    (Gary Peacock)
    07:14
  • 5Longer
    (Paul Bley)
    05:33
  • 6Dialogue Amour
    (Paul Bley)
    06:01
  • 7When Will The Blues Leave
    (Ornette Coleman)
    05:26
  • 8I Loves You, Porgy
    (Du Bose Heyward, Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin)
    04:56
Sie suchten die Freiheit auf dem Weg nach innen, im sensiblen Interplay, sozusagen im Pianissimo (obwohl Bley mit seinen Powerläufen in der Rechten auch am andern Ende der Skala brillieren konnte). Der Mitschnitt eines Konzerts in Lugano, ein Fund aus den Archiven, ist das großartige Epitaph einer Freundschaft, die weiter als ein halbes Jahrhundert zurückreichte (Motian starb 2011, Bley 2016): zeitlos, funkelnd lebendig. Drei große Individualisten, die wussten, dass sie zusammen noch mehr sind als die Summe der auch schon beträchtlichen einzelnen Teile.
Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche
 
Mastery is a tricky concept — it has to encompass inspiration, evolution, technique, grace, effortlessness and not a little wisdom, all made into a whole that can be called a work of the same. This live album, recorded in 1999 by ECM in Lugano, Italy, is one of the clearest examples of mastery that has ever graced the air you hear it in. […] Each piece is an example of a stream-of-conscious thought expressed by an instrumental trio with beauty, energy and intelligence. If that isn't mastery, then none exists.
Nilan Perera, Exclaim!
 
Das sind Statements: Klarer kann man sich musikalisch nicht ausdrücken. Der kanadische Pianist Paul Bley mit seinen beiden Trio-Partnern Gary Peacock am Bass und Paul Motian am Schlagzeug: So klang eines der aufregendsten Trios des hochmodernen Jazz. In diesen Aufnahmen kann man Musik noch einmal neu entdecken, die es jetzt live nicht mehr geben kann. Und man merkt bei jedem Ton, wie schade das ist. Was für eine treibende Energie! Was für eine vibrierende Lebendigkeit! Man ahnt dabei nie genau, wie es weitergehen könnte. Diese Musik suchte sich ihren Weg immer ganz im Augenblick. Musik jenseits von Routine – und weit weg von der Versuchung, gefällig zu sein. Dennoch ist das, was man hier hört, von einer raren Schönheit. Musik, die ihren Schwung aus großem Ausdrucksdrang gewinnt – und diesen bisweilen einfach laufen lässt; bisweilen kann er aber auch in sehr lyrische Momente fließen.
Roland Spiegel, Bayerischer Rundfunk
 
Hier spielt ein Trio mit der Erfahrung von fast vier Dekaden und der Neugierde eines Neugeborenen. Eine helle Freude ist das, unter die sich aber auch Wehmut mischt. Wird man diese Formation doch nie wieder hören können. Umso schöner, dass mit diesem Release das Vermächtnis erweitert wurde.
Sebastian Meißner, Sounds And Books
 
Enregistré en 1998, ‘Not Tow, Not One’, l’un des rares albums ECM de ce trio, donna lieu l’année suivante à des concerts don’t l’un d’entre eux, aujourd’hui edité, se révèle comme une pièce maîtresse de la discographie du pianiste. La plupart des thèmes nous sont familiers. […] Mais les versions que nous en donnent ici les trois hommes ne ressemblent en rien à celles déjà existantes. Sur leurs melodies se greffent des harmonies et des couleurs nouvelles, des improvisations inattendues. […] ‚Told You So‘ démarre comme un boogie et devient brièvement une ritournelle avant que le pianiste canadien en liberté ne fasse chanter ses notes, ne les pose, rêveuses, sur la musique qu’il invente. L’autre morceau en solo de l’album, ‘I Love You, Porgy’, est d’une rare intensité  poétique. Car son piano, Paul Bley le bouscule, en fait sonner puissament les notes, mais de de ces dernières, frappées et martelées, surgissent des melodies délicieuses, des séquences purement lyriques. Nombreuses, elles sont ici inoubliables.
Pierre de Chocqueuse, Jazz Magazine
 
Vital und prächtig aufgelegt zeigt sich die Formation mit Gary Peacock am Bass und Paul Motian am Schlagzeug in der Aula Magna im schweizerischen Lugano. Wie ein Lehrstück freier und freiester Improvisation wirkt die Aufnahme. Alle Hierarchien sind abgeschafft. Immer wieder brechen die Mitspieler als Solisten auf, machen ihre Instrumente zu Sprachrohren ihrer selbst.
Tilman Urbach, Stereo
 
A delicious hitherto unreleased Swiss recording from 1999 named after an Ornette Coleman tune that Paul Bley had been playing since the Hillcrest days it is worth noting how different sounding this trio comes across when compared with today’s typical piano trio. This has far more of a fractured and abstract sense than most piano trios today who tend to be more rock or electronica-influenced and who often tend to lean towards a sweeter sense of melody. Bley, Peacock and Motian are never far away from bebop and yet there is nothing dated about their performance or approach here: Bley elegiac and hugely modernistic in his solos, Motian a scampering, engaged, presence leaving it to Peacock to find hidden spaces to draw out and angle the trio in a new direction as each tune develops.
Stephen Graham, Marlbank
 
Pianist Paul Bley, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian first made an album together in the 1960s. They didn’t make another one as a trio until 1998, when they recorded ‘Not Two, Not One’, a marvel of collective intuition and unthinking wisdom. When Will the Blues Leave, just out on ECM, is a breathtaking document from the tour that followed, recorded in Switzerland in ’99. The title track — by Ornette Coleman, a touchstone for all involved — is a natural highlight. […] You can tell how deeply comfortable these masters feel, and how resistant they are to complacency.
Nate Chinen, WBGO Take five
 
Das größtenteils auf Eigenkompositionen basierende Set zeugt von einfühlsamer Kommunikation zwischen drei Avantgardisten,  die immer und ohne Zweifel Raum über Zeit wählen. Vom flächigen Bley-Original ‚Mazatlan‘ über den dekonstruierten Swing auf dem Peacock-Stück ‚Moor‘ wird hier ein Abwechslungsreichtum geboten, welcher stets von aufregend abstrakter Improvisation zeugt.
Friedrich Kunzmann, Concerto
 
A remarkable archival document that underscores how much potential this trio displayed, and what they might have accomplished had they played together more often.
Thom Jurek, All Music
 
Plucked from the ECM archives comes this 1999 live set recorded with two other first-rank improvisers: the bassist Gary Peacock and Paul Motian on drums. In some piano trios the percussion and bass merely add accent and colour, this free-ish set, recorded live in Switzerland, is a busy conversation between equals. […] On the title track by Ornette Coleman the theme is taken at breakneck pace before drum and bass take off with playful virtuosity. A faithful ‘I Loves You Porgy’ is the rhapsodic closer.
John Bungey, The Times
 
‘When Will The Blues Leave’ boasts telepathic interplay between pianist, bassist and drummer even when they are exercising their freedom to go their own highly individual ways; the musicians played together – occasionally as a trio, often in other configurations – a great deal over the years, and it shows. […] characteristically, Motian’s playing is wondrously light, imaginative and subtle, at times almost melodic, while Peacock’s is vigorous, solidly grounded yet impressively fleet-footed in its deft responses to his colleagues.
Geoff Andrew, Notes & Observations
 
Die drei weißen Nonkonformisten musizieren auf diesem Mitschnitt unaufgeregt, tiefschürfend und mit abgemilderter Radikalität, wobei sich balladeske Introspektion und freigeistige Expressivität die Waage halten. Bei einigen Nummern handelt es sich unüberhörbar um Metamorphosen von Stücken aus dem ‚Great American Songbook‘: Die ursprünglichen Melodien und Harmonien werden vom Trio sublimiert und transzendiert. Schlusspunkt des Albums bildet eine hinreißende Soloversion des Gershwin-Klassikers ‚I Loves You, Porgy‘, mit der Bley ans ein Soloalbum ‚Axis‘ aus dem Jahr 1977 anknüpft.
Tom Gsteiger, St. Galler Tagblatt
 
‘When Will The Blues Leave’ is a mix of originals with two covers, including the title track. The other cover, the one that closes out the program, is the Gershwin ballad from Porgy And Bess, ’I Loves You, Porgy.’ Coleman's tune is the penultimate piece here, both selections suggesting a kind of looking back at set's end after members have played marvelous trio, duo and solo tunes, all but one Bley composition, Peacock's delicate ‘Moor’ the lone exception. ‘Porgy’ becomes a solo parlor piano excursion, drenched in feeling, with an airiness that both sings and laments, and with a patience and embrace of the song's exquisite melody that makes you wish for more. Alas, it was the set-closer. Past and present, that seems to be what is to be gotten from listening to Paul Bley's music. A restless spirit, venturing into electronics during the 1970s, he may be the most important pianist when it comes to having an embrace of the past, present and future of jazz just because of his historic span across so many decades (he had played with Lester Young as well as Parker, among others) during so many significant changes in the music. Indeed, listening to Bley with Motian, and Peacock in particular, on ‘When Will The Blues Leave’, can serve as a reminder of how important Peacock's contributions have also been over the decades […] ‘When Will The Blues Leave’ enjoys an intimate, lively production by Manfred Eicher. This date is a production, among thousands for the label, that only serves to enhance what, alongside ‘Memoirs’, will always remain a stunner of a jazz piano trio outing.
John Ephland, All About Jazz
 
Hier führt ein famoses Improvisatoren-Trio die Unterschiede zwischen reinem Jazz-Handwerk und der hohen Kunst der Improvisation vor. Beruhigend, dass ein musikalisches Dreiergespräch von solchem Format auch 20 Jahre nach seiner Entstehung noch den Weg zurück ans Tageslicht findet […] Bley, Motian und Peacock reiten von Beginn an auf dem Grat zwischen kontrollierter Kreation und kollektiver Inspiration. […] Die Ballade ‚Dialogue Amour‘ verweist darauf, dass dieses Trio just dort weiterarbeitete, wo das von Bill Evans seinerzeit aufgehört hatte, und gleich darauf stellen die drei mit Ornette Colemans Titelstück auf grandiose Weise die Verbindung vom Impressionismus zur Avantgarde her.  
Jan Kobrzinowski, Jazzthetik
 
Mal versunken, mal aufbrausend, freigeistig, aber nicht bilderstürmerisch formuliert dieser Dreier auf Augenhöhe seine eigene routinefreie Definition des Piano-Trios. Für diese drei Meister ist nur eine Regel nicht verhandelbar: in jedem Augenblick aufeinander hören und reagieren. […] Musik zwischen berührender Intimität und erfrischender Unvorhersehbarkeit.
Reinhold Unger, Münchner Merkur
 
I was blown away by some of the sheer poetry and elegance of not only Bley’s piano (solo on ‘I Told You So’ and the luxurious ‘I Loves You Porgy’) but the sublime contributions from the remarkable Peacock and Motian, who are given plenty of space of their own - notably Motian on the lively Ornette Coleman title track, and Peacock on his own 1970 number, ‘Moor’.  […] Altogether a remarkably varied collection of apparently relaxed conversations between all combinations of the three players:  virtuoso technique worn lightly in service of real artistry. Highly recommended - an object lesson in the power of the piano trio.    
Chris Kilsby, Bebop Spoken Here
 
Ce disque live de toute  beauté, en registrè à l’Aula Magna de Trevano, en Suisse, témoigne de ces retrouvailles,, à travers un repertoire plutôt ‘classique’ du pianist et de ses hommes:  le reprise, mille fois arpentée par Paul Bley depuis le milieu des années 60, de ‘When Will The Blues Leave’ d’Ornette Coleman (qui donne à l’album son titre), ou l’incontournable ‘Moor’ de Gary Peacock, prètexte à la celebration d’un jazz subtil. Un régal.
P.B., Rolling Stone France
 
The freewheeling trio mixes up well known Bley originals, plus a few standards in an invigorating program that longtime fans, and even those new to the group will enjoy. […] All three are questing musicians, never content to merely just run down traditional forms and chord changes– the music becomes a blank slate for improvisatory wonder in much the same way Bruce Lee described water taking form in whatever vessel it is contained in. The entirety of the history of jazz is implied in this performance […] The live recording has a deep sound stage, with closely miked piano, the sound of wooden hammers, hitting piano strings, wonderfully fat bass, and Motian’s trademark riveted ride, and huge resonant bass drum bursting with detail.  It’s a reminder of how live recordings when done right, can match their studio counterparts, and typical of ECM, nothing less than excellent.
CJ Shearn, Jazz Views
 
Insgesamt ist das mal von spröder Melancholie, zieht dann wieder das Tempo an, macht kurz Station bei Blues, Bebop und anderen traditionellem Formen und addiert sich zu detail-scharfen Konversationen dreier absolut gleichberechtigter Könner ihrer Instrumente. Hier wird nicht gepost oder mit den Muskeln gespielt, hier herrscht höchste Spielkultur, mit der musikalische Stoffe mal balladesk, mal zupackend wie in einem große Ping-Pong überaus kurzweilig zwischen den drei Spielern hin und her gereicht werden als großer Fluss in einem ausgefuchsten Frage-und-Antwort-Spiel. […] Immer wieder reißen unverhoffte improvisatorische Antworten auf Fragen des anderen neue Horizonte auf, die spielerisch ausgeschritten werden. Dabei geht es nicht um ds jeweils grandiose Solospiel des einzelnen, sondern um die in luftigen Verzahnungen erspielte Gemeinsamkeit in diesem endlich gehobenen Schatz.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Leipziger Volkszeitung
 
Das Trio mit Paul Bley gilt als eine der spannendsten Bands mit hochmelodischem freitonalen Ansatz. Beleg ist die Konzerteinspielung von 1999 in Lugano.  
Jürg Sommer, Schweiz am Wochenende
 
The trio of Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian is one of the truly great groups, and this new release of a March 1999 concert in Lugano, Switzerland is wonderful. […] Like most Bley trio recordings, the record includes extensive solo and duo sections, with all three musicians given plenty of room to stretch out by themselves. Bley has said ‘if the music already sounds good, why spoil it? So don’t add your voice unless they need help’ (Meehan, 2003) and that philosophy stands them well here, with fantastic solos from all three. This album is a beautiful record of one evening in the long musical relationship of three absolute grandmasters of the music. It doesn’t contain anything that will come as a huge surprise to anyone who knows their work, but any opportunity to hear three such wonderful improvisers at the top of their respective games is not to be missed.
Olie Brice, London Jazz News
 
Pianist Paul Bley, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian were avant-garde pioneers back in the early ‘60s. ‘When Will The Blues Leave’, a live recording from 20 years ago, captures the trio in all their free-thinking, elegiac glory. There’s something miraculous about their collective ability to communicate so much gentle energy outside the norms of conventional music making. Simply awesome.
Gary Booth, BBC Music Magazine
 
I love this new ECM album. Bley’s improvisations are angular, jagged, and challenging. Most are meditative and allow plenty of space for bass and drum solos. There is often a gap between when he finishes a song and when the audience realizes it has ended and starts clapping—even the applause is somewhat muted. The exception is the buoyant, classic Coleman title tune ‘When Will The Blues Leave,’ after which the audience erupts. The performance is classic later Bley, joined in musical conversation by two masters he knew well.
Tom Schnabel, KRCW
 
Throughout, the musicians put forth halting, mysterious music, toying with form and composing on the fly. Bley died in 2016 and Motian five years before that, this album now functioning as a potent reminder of what made them so important.
Matthew Kassel, Downbeat
 
Strands of history are woven into the beguiling tapestry of ‘When Will The Blues Leave’, a luminous artifact that’s been released 20 years after its live recording in Lugano 1999. A posthumous gem for pianist Paul Bley and drummer Paul Motian, it’s only the third official release by their inspired trio with bassist Gary Peacock, harking back to their early ‘60s collaborations. […] the album’s main attraction is the collective, ‘not two, not one’ identity. Propelled by Motian’s distinctively elastic yet always swing-inflected time sense, the trio organically loosens grooves without losing them. It’s a rare and delicate balance, achievable with the right trio chemistry, as exemplified, for instance, in Peacock’s ‘Moor’, which unravels beautifully in its final passage.  […] This important recording fills a gap, inviting speculation as to what more might have come from these like-minded bandmates.
Josef Woodard, Jazziz
 
Im schweizerischen Lugano fand diese Wiederbelebung statt, und die drei erfreuten mit außerordentlicher Frische und Vitalität. Dazu kommt noch ein gegenseitiges Vertrauen, das aus der Kenntnis der Partner resultiert und dennoch nie zur Routine verkommt. Acht Stücke sind eingefangen, die meisten stammen von Bley, so das fein dynamische, mit glänzenden Übergängen ausgestattete ‘Mazatlan’ oder das zauberhaft zarte ‘Flame’, eines, ‘Moor’, schrieb Peacock mit einem entsprechend ausführlichen, vollmundigen Basssolo versehen, der Titeltrack stammt von Ornette Coleman, und am Ende gibt es noch den Gershwin-Klassiker, ‘I Loves You, Porgy’. Bei aller Sparsamkeit des Einsatzes der Mittel entsteht beim Zuhören nie das Gefühl eines Mangels, immer überwiegt das Staunen über die fast überirdische Schönheit, über die Zeitlosigkeit der Klänge. Und dass Paul Motian auch ordentlich dreinhauen kann, merkt man spätestens beim Titelstück und einem knappen aber intensiven Solo des Meisters des verschwindenden Schlagzeugspiels. […] Es könnte ein Klassiker werden.
Christoph Haunschmid, Freistil
 
Auf diesem vor zwanzig Jahren in Lugano aufgenommenen und bisher unveröffentlichten Konzert-Mitschnitt glänzt das Bley-Trio neben mehrereren Eigenkompositionen auch mit einer Version von Ornette Colemans ‘When Will The Blues Leave’: ein improvisatorisches Meisterwerk von großer Intensität und Ruhe.
Christian Broecking, Berliner Zeitung
“If music is conversation then questions will come up because in conversation there are many questions.  Questions lead to answers, which lead to more questions.  That is what makes the music continue: the questions and their answers.”
Paul Bley
 
When Will The Blues Leave, a previously unreleased recording rescued from the archives, bears testimony to the special musical understanding shared by three great improvisers.  Long acknowledged by creative musicians as one of the influential groups of the ‘free’ era, Paul Bley’s pioneering trio with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian has been under-represented on record.  A 1963 session with this trio formed part of the album Paul Bley with Gary Peacock, which ECM released in 1970, and a 1964 recording on which the three musicians were joined by saxophonist John Gilmore was issued in the mid-70s on Bley’s IAI label. Over the years there were recordings which presented the pianist either with Motian or with Peacock, as well as albums that featured the drummer and bassist in other contexts. But it wasn’t until 1998 that all three protagonists came together again, at Gary’s suggestion, for the ECM recording Not Two, Not One.  On its release the following year, the reunited trio of Bley, Peacock and Motian played concerts on both sides of the Atlantic, and we are very pleased to present now this live album, drawn from a performance at   Lugano’s Aula Magna in March 1999, which shows the group at the peak of its powers.  More than an historical document, it’s also a great-sounding album, one of the finest in Paul’s trio discography.
 
Paul Bley’s tune “Mazatlan”, which long-time Bley followers first encountered on the album Touching, opens the proceedings and immediately ushers the listener into the trio’s quick-witted world, in which three independent spirits enjoy the fullest range of expression.  “The beauty of having a drummer like Paul Motian,” Bley once famously said, “was that you were free to go wherever you wanted. He didn’t play accompaniment. So you didn’t have to worry ‘If I take a left turn will the drummer be able to follow me?’, because Motian had no intention of following you in the first place.”  Both Motian and Peacock claim plenty of space inside “Mazatlan” and Bley makes some characteristic explorations of the piano’s lower reaches, with explosive clusters at the deep end.  
 
“Flame” burns steadily, with Bley and Peacock developing what might be described as parallel soliloquies. “Told You So” is a reminder of the pianist’s affection for the blues, constant through the fragmentation of its themes.
 
The energetic “When Will The Blues Leave”, taken at a flying clip, is a piece that was introduced into Bley’s repertoire in 1958 when the tune’s composer, Ornette Coleman, was a member (along with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins) of Paul’s legendary quintet at the Hillcrest Club in Los Angeles.  It can also be heard on the classic Footloose album and on Paul Bley With Gary Peacock. The latter album also includes Peacock’s “Moor”, a composition the bassist has returned to numerous times, always finding new things to play in it (other versions on ECM include a quartet rendering with Jan Garbarek, Tomasz Stanko and Jack DeJohnette on Voice From The Past-Paradigm, and a recent trio interpretation with Marc Copland and Joey Baron on Now This).  Here, “Moor” begins as a robust bass solo, which gradually draws Motian’s drums and Bley’s piano into its orbit.  
 
These musicians were never inclined to play anything the same way twice, and “Dialogue Amour”, introduced a year earlier on Not Two, Not One, is transformed in the Lugano performance, with both Peacock and Bley free associating as the piece unfolds.  At one point, Paul quotes from “Ornithology” by Charlie Parker (just one of the many giants Bley played with along the way).
 
In the trio’s first collaborations in the early 1960s, the emphasis had been on original material as a doorway to free playing, but by the 1990s all three musicians, in their various projects, had re-embraced standard repertoire as well.  The concluding piece here, Gershwin’s “I Loves You, Porgy” is another fascinating performance, with Bley at first surrendering to its romantic atmosphere, then splintering and abstracting the melody, driven – as he always was – to make the music new.
 
*
 
Further ECM recordings with Paul Bley and Paul Motian include Fragments and The Paul Bley Quartet recorded, respectively, in 1986 and 1987, with a group completed by John Surman and Bill Frisell. In addition to albums mentioned above, Bley and Gary Peacock can be heard together on Ballads (recorded 1967), John Surman’s Adventure Playground (1991) and In The Evenings Out There (also 1991), jointly credited to Bley, Peacock, Surman and Tony Oxley.  Gary Peacock and Paul Motian can be heard together with Keith Jarrett on the album At The Deer Head Inn (1992), and on recordings by Marilyn Crispell including Nothing ever was, anyway (1996) - featuring music Annette Peacock originally wrote for Paul Bley’s groups – and Amaryllis (2000).  
 
Paul Bley’s last recording for ECM was the live solo album Play Blue, recorded at the Oslo Jazz Festival in 2008.  Paul Motian’s final recording as a leader for the label was Lost In A Dream, recorded 2009, with Chris Potter and Jason Moran.  Motian died in 2011, Bley in 2016.
 
Gary Peacock continues to record new music.  Following the dissolution of Keith Jarrett’s ‘Standards’ trio (of which Gary was a member for 30 years), Peacock’s priorities have included his own group with Marc Copland and Joey Baron (albums are Tangents and Now This) and a duo with Marilyn Crispell (documented on Azure).