Canadian Free Jazz Pianist Paul Bley Dead at 83
Published Jan 05, 2016Legendary Canadian free jazz pianist Paul Bley has died. He was 83 and passed away in his home on January 3.
A statement released from his daughter Vanessa Bley reads: "I'm deeply saddened to tell you that my father passed... He was at home and very comfortable with family at his side."
Paul Bley's reach in the jazz world cannot be overstated, as he was an extremely influential figure. Throughout his life, he worked with the likes of Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler, George Russell, Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Donald Byrd, Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, among others.
The Montreal-born musician started as a violinist before taking on piano at the age of eight. In the '50s, he was a renowned bebop player. Later that decade, he began experimenting with free jazz. Then, in the '60s, he was one of the first jazz musicians to utilize a Moog synthesizer.
At different times in his life, Bley was married to jazz musicians Carla Bley and Annette Peacock.
In 2008, Paul Bley was made a member of the Order of Canada.