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GARY PEACOCK has served as an inspiration for a new generation of jazz bass players, not content with the traditional bassist's role of simple time-keeping and harmonic accompaniment. His ability to bring melodic and rhythmic freedom into any musical setting has been his trademark for 40 years.
Born in 1935 in Idaho, Peacock first played in Los Angeles in the late-1950s with Bud Shank, Barney Kessel, Hampton Hawes, and Paul Bley. By the early '60s, he was in New York playing with Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Sonny Rollins, and others. He moved to Japan for several years in the late '60s to study Oriental philosophy and medicine, before returning to the U.S. in the early '70s to resume active music-making and to teach at the
Cornish Institute in Seattle. Over the years he has also worked with Sarah Vaughan, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Helen Merrill, Michel Petrucianni, Don Pullen, and Bill Frisell, to name a few.
In recent years, Peacock's other major collaborations include duo work with guitarist Ralph Towner, and two different piano trio settings featuring either Paul Bley or Marilyn Crispell backed by Peacock and drummer Paul Motian.
In the past 25 years, Peacock has played on over 25 ECM Records recordings.
Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette first played together in 1966-68 as members of the Charles Lloyd Quartet, then for one year in 1970 with Miles Davis. The trio first performed together in 1977, when Jarrett and DeJohnette played on Gary Peacock's first ECM recording, Tales of Another. They came together as a permanent trio in 1983, when Jarrett invited the other two to join him in New York for a recording session dedicated to playing standards, the rich body of American popular songs from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. At the time it was considered passé for top players to concentrate on standards, instead of original material, but Keith Jarrett thought it was important to show that: "Music wasn't about material, but what the player brings to the material."
The 1983 sessions produced the trio's first three ECM releases - Standards Vol. 1 & 2, and Changes. Ten live concert recordings have followed on ECM, each recorded in a different international city: Standards Live (Paris, 1985), Still Live (Munich, 1986), Changeless (U.S. Tour, 1987), Tribute (Cologne, 1989), Standards in Norway (Oslo, 1989), The Cure (New York/Town Hall, 1990), Tokyo '96, Whisper Not (Paris, 1999), and Keith Jarrett At The Blue Note: The Complete Recordings, a special 6-CD box set that captured the trio's complete, sold-out, three-night engagement at the Blue Note jazz club in New York in June 1994; it was voted Album of the Year in the 1996 Down Beat Critics Poll. In October 2001, EM released Inside Out, a recording of freely improvised trio music performed in concert at London's Royal Festival Hall in July 2000.
In October 1991, exactly two weeks after the death of Miles Davis, the trio went into New York's Power Station studio and recorded Bye Bye Blackbird, their deeply felt tribute to the jazz giant with whom all three had played in their early years.
Video releases include: Standards I, Standards II, Live at Open Theatre East, and Tokyo Concert '96, all featuring full concert performances.
In the past 14 years, the trio has been nominated for many international awards. They have been nominated for three American Grammy nominations (including one in 1999 for Tokyo '96), plus dozens of Record of the Year and Critics Prize awards from the U.S., European, and Japanese music press. The trio was voted "Best Acoustic Jazz Group" in the 1998 and 1999 Down Beat Readers Polls and has won innumerable awards worldwide including Best of the Year awards in Japan, France, and the U.S., as well as being nominated this year for a Grammy Award.