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Paul Bley (1932 - 2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Frans Schellekens

Paul Bley (1932 - 2016)

Paul Bley, a Canadian-born jazz pianist who expanded on the styles of the likes of Oscar Peterson and Wynton Kelly, has died. He was 83.

Bley, who won praise for his considerable contributions to free-form jazz during a music career that spanned seven decades, died of natural causes at his home in Stuart, Florida, according to the publicist for ECM Records, Bley's record label.

Bley was born Hyman Paul Bley Nov. 10, 1932, in Montreal, Quebec, he studied music at a very early age and was the leader of his own band in 1946. In the 1950s, Bley created the Jazz Workshop in his hometown. He moved to New York, New York, in 1950 to study at the Juilliard School of music.


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The pianist played and recorded with legendary jazz artists including Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus. His first album, 1953's "Introducing Paul Bley," featured the trio of Mingus playing the double bass, Bley on piano and Art Blakey on drums. Mingus also produced the record.

In the 1960s, Bley toured and recorded with the Jimmy Giuffre Trio as well as saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Also during that time, he began using electric pianos and synthesizers.

Bley leaves his wife, Carol Goss;  two daughters, Vanessa Bley and Angelica Palmer; two grandchildren; and another daughter, Solo Peacock.

Private memorial services are planned in Stuart.

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