Carla Bley: The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu (2008)
"The Banana Quintet," which melds the first six tracks into one suite, relies on five-beat meters for much of its spontaneity. Three more tracks carry on the same sense of homespun passion with themes that range from events in daily life to those that occur in supernatural dreams. Bley's piano opens several numbers with a predetermined sense of direction and mood. She created each tone poem with The Lost Chords in mind; yet, the session places no restraints on its participants. They accept their musical freedom graciously while turning over one surprise after another. The lyricism that Sheppard and Fresu espouse comes coated with sentiment. At times dark and melodramatic, the ensemble draws a parallel to the sound that Charlie Haden achieves through his Liberation Music Orchestra. It's no coincidence that Bley is a compositional force with that band as well. Both bands, while unique, carry considerable lyrical motion in their interpretations. This quintet could sit in comfortably at any jazz club in the world and make you feel at home. What's more, they deliver fresh musical ideas with a feeling that comes from a lifetime in jazz.
Track Listing: The Banana Quintet (One Banana; Two Banana; Three Banana; Four; Five Banana; One Banana More); Liver of Life; Death of Superman/Dream Sequence #1--Flying; Ad Infinitum.
Personnel: Carla Bley: piano; Steve Swallow: bass; Billy Drummond: drums; Paolo Fresu: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andy Sheppard: tenor saxophone.
Record Label: ECM Records