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When the major record companies turned their backs on acoustic jazz in the 1970s, European labels like the Italian based Black Saint and Soul Note stepped in to document America’s then flourishing left field.

Recent reissues in this ongoing programme include the expressionist rampage of David Murray and Cecil Taylor.

But Paul Bley stands out for the oblique minimalism and narrative control that are a key influence on contemporary pianists. The solo album is lovely, the duets atmospheric and the guitar-enhanced quartets rich with pianistic subtleties.

Paul Bley

The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint and Soul Note

(10 CDs)

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