343

Carla Bley: 4 X 4

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
One can always anticipate originality from Carla Bley. And she doesn’t disappoint.

Admired by other composers as wide-ranging as Tom Harrell and Gary Burton, Bley’s originality springs from her powers of observation and her intent to convert naturally musical sounds to the framework of appropriate meters, of notatable forms and of instrumental pitches. Burton shares this naturalism by freeing the vibraphone to attain more vocal expression. So does Harrell, who draws inspiration from the sounds he hears even as he walks down the street.

A case in point: Carla Bley’s “Sidewinders In Paradise” grew organically into an amalgam of Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder” rhythm, the chirps and blurts of birds and frogs on a Caribbean island, and a not-too-subtle reference to the kitschy tune, “Strangers In Paradise.”

Likewise for “Baseball,” which, sure enough, taps Larry Goldings’ unconventional approach to the organ for an evocation of ballpark schmaltz and energy heightened by the underlying excitement of the sport. Interestingly, Bley had gone to just one baseball game in her life before writing this tune.

Yes, Bley’s 4X4 band does include organ and piano, which ordinarily would engage in a collision course. However, Bley pulls out of each keyboard instrument its strengths as complements rather than competitors. On “Les Trois Lagons,” Bley does the honors of a slow and ruminative introduction before Goldings takes over the charge. And then, after a pause, Bley’s spare half-note motif reveals that the tune was written to the changes of “Jeepers Creepers.”

By combining such common references with the selection of individualistic musicians, Bley has made her music accessible without abandoning a personalized approach.

Paring down to 8 musicians (4X4) from her big band, Carla Bley has created yet another group which defies expectations, and which for that reason delights as well.


Track Listing:

Blues In Twelve Bars/Blues In Twelve Other Bars; Sidewinders In Paradise; Les Trois Lagons; Baseball; Utviklingssang

Personnel:

Carla Bley, piano; Larry Goldings, organ; Steve Swallow, bass; Victor Lewis, drums; Lew Soloff, trumpet; Wolfgang Puschnig, alto sax; Andy Sheppard, tenor sax; Gary Valente, trombone http://www.ecmrecords.com

| Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Mirror, Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Mirror, Mirror
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Accortet" CD/LP/Track Review Accortet
by John Sharpe
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "The Whistle Blower" CD/LP/Track Review The Whistle Blower
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Mancera #5" CD/LP/Track Review Mancera #5
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!