Paul (Horace) Plimley (born 16 March 1953 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a free jazz pianist and vibraphonist. He is one of the doyens of the Canadian jazz avant-garde, a co-founder of the New Orchestra Workshop Society and frequent collaborator with the bassist Lisle Ellis. He is well versed in classical music and in all styles of jazz; he was one of the first and most convincing interpreters of Ornette Coleman's music on the piano (an instrument usually seen as antithetical to Coleman's music).
Plimley studied classical piano under Kum-Sing Lee at the University of British Columbia (1971–3). In 1978-9 he studied with Karl Berger and Cecil Taylor at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY. In 1977 he founded the New Orchestra Workshop (NOW), and he has been active in many of the ensembles associated with NOW, including the NOW Orchestra.
His work with Lisle Ellis is extensive, and includes the duo CD Both Sides of the Same Mirror (Nine Winds, 1989); When Silence Pulls, with Andrew Cyrille (Music & Arts, 1990); Noir, with Bruce Freedman and Gregg Bendian (Victo, 1992); Density of the Lovestruck Demons with Donald Robinson (Music & Arts, 1994); and Safecrackers with Scott Amendola (Victo, 1999). Most notable, perhaps, are two recordings for Hat Art: the collection of Ornette Coleman interpretations, Kaleidoscopes (1992), and (under Joe McPhee's leadership), a revisiting of Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite called Sweet Freedom, Now What? (1994). In May 2000 he recorded a live act at the 17th International Festival of New Music in Victoriaville, Quebec with John Oswald, Marilyn Crispell and Cecil Taylor. The album was released at Victo Records.
The still Vancouver based musician is a regular at the annual Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
- 1995: Everything in Stages (Songlines)
As band leader
With Lisle Ellis
- 1991: When Silence Pulls with Andrew Cyrille (Music & Arts)
- 1992: Kaleidoscopes (Hat Art)
- 1993: Noir (Les Disques Victo) with Gregg Bendian
With Barry Guy
With Trichy Sankaran
- 1998: Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums (Songlines)
- 2001: Complicité (Les Disques Victo)
With Joe McPhee
With Henry Kaiser
- 1999: Passwords (Spool), with Danielle DeGruttola
- 2012: The Starbreak Splatterlight (There), with Weasel Walter and Lukas Ligeti
With Mei Han
- 2006: Ume (ZA Discs)
With Anthony Davis
- 2016: Past Piano Present | Live at Western Front 1985 - 2015 (Western Front New Music), including with Al Neil and John Kameel Farah
- In the Key of Eh! Canadian Jazz Piano (1996)
- Duos: the jazz sessions (2000)
- Solos: the jazz sessions (2004)
- Review by Scott Yanow. "New Orchestra Workshop Now You Hear It". All Music. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- Dave Lynch. "Paul Plimley biography". All Music. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- Bill Bennett (March 2002). "Paul Plimley/John Oswald/Marilyn Crispell/Cecil Taylor Complicite". JazzTimes reviews. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- Brianna Girdler (16 June 2014). "Paul Plimley listens for the transformative experience in jazz". Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Paul Plimley". Discography. Discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
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