Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Paul Bley

  • Live at the Hillcrest Club 1958 [Inner City, 1976] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Live at the Hillcrest Club 1958 [Inner City, 1976]
Too bad this'll be catalogued under Bley's name, because it's significant as the earliest recording of Ornette Coleman's great quartet, featuring Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Billy Higgins. Although Bley led the date, the engineering (i.e., where he put the tape recorder) is so involuntarily self-effacing that Bley is hard to hear even when he solos and impossible to hear when he comps. But the blowing comes through loud and clear, looser and closer to bebop than the familiar early Coleman on Atlantic, and I have the feeling that when I want people to understand what free jazz meant, this is what I'll play. A