Carla Bley: Rarum XV: Selected Recordings (2004)
These bits of jazz humor, uproariously memorable as they are, represent just a fraction of this disc. There is a bit of a proto-bop daredevil jam ("Chicken") with long-time musical comrades bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, a touch of elegant big band tone-poetry ("Fleur Carnivore"), and a rock/jazz/neo-Wagnerian opera with a guest vocal by Linda Ronstadt ("Escalator Over the Hill"). Closing the disc is the dryly abstract Bley tune "Ictus," recorded by her ex-husband pianist Paul Bley on multiple occasions, this time with Steve Swallow and clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre.
Think of Paul Bley's steely introversion in light of Carla Bley's comic extroversion. Through her various formats, ranging from duo to huge big band, Carla Bley has always loved presenting jazz as a spectacle, as a colorful, blasting, brassy, bossy, audacious event. The late Cuban diva Celia Cruz sang "Life is a Carnival." Carla Bley and her various musicians never seem far from that perspective.
Track Listing: 1. Baseball, 2. Major, 3. End of Vienna, 4. Chicken, 5. On the Stage in Cages, 6. Fleur Carnivore, 7. More Brahms, 8. Walking Batteriewoman, 9. Silence, 10. Why, 11. Ictus
Personnel: Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Andy Sheppard, Wolfgang Puschnig, Gato Barbieri, Dewey Redman, Jim Pepper, Jimmy Lyons, Roswell Rudd, Charlie Haden, D. Sharpe, Vistor Lewis, Linda Ronstadt, Annie Whitehead, and many others.
Record Label: ECM Records
Style: Modern Jazz