Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Iro Haarla: Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Longstanding piano-bass tandem Iro Haarla and Ulf Krokfors team up with drummer Barry Altschul for Around Again, a reverent and eminently rewarding tribute to Carla Bley. All three musicians possess a deep familiarity with Bley's work. Haarla's dates from her earliest conservatory studies at Finland's Sibelius Academy in the 1970s, while Altschul played on Paul Bley's magnificent Closer (ESP, 1965), itself a record built around Carla's compositions. Krokfors actually came up with the idea for Around Again as he was revisiting his own study of Paul Bley's classic trio records, noting Carla's pivotal role in Paul's development, and it's immediately evident in listening to these twelve pieces that the trio have an expert grasp of the deceptive simplicity and enduring appeal of her music.

Haarla's technique is perfect for Bley's fluid, elliptical pieces. Their melodic content is undeniable, and Haarla captures it well—sometimes with just a few languid, perfectly-placed notes, as on the stunning "Closer," one of five pieces found on the aforementioned Paul Bley record that are featured here. She also has a resolute openness to her playing, and a comfort with space and silence, which means she doesn't feel compelled to rush the music or fill it with needless ornamentation. But when she does turn up the intensity level, as on "Batterie" or "Start," her choices are ideal in balancing energy and lyricism. There's nothing timid about her playing, but she is content to let the shape of each piece dictate her approach, and even in her most adventurous moments there is a strong melodic thread to be found.

Equally impressive are Krokfors and Altschul, both of whom avoid overplaying in service to the needs of the music. Krokfors has a lithesome dexterity when the conversation becomes a bit more animated, as it certainly does on "King Korn." But his rapturously patient offerings on the folk-like "Utviklingssang" are just as memorable, letting the piece's somber poignancy emerge beautifully through his sparse restraint. Altschul is also a marvel, capable of maintaining the subtle momentum of the music while steadfastly eschewing the role of timekeeper. He's a sublimely melodic presence, with a sensitivity to Bley's music that shines throughout the record.

The production and packaging of the album are also first-rate. Not only is the recording of superior quality—especially welcome, given the intricacy and delicacy of the musicianship—but the album features lovely cover art from Ole Kandelin and a richly informative booklet that provides detailed background on both the trio and Bley herself, in addition to a song-by-song history of Bley's compositions on the record. In an age in which downloads and streaming often render such considerations an afterthought, TUM is to be commended on its dedication to giving its music the stellar presentation it deserves.

A noteworthy musical accomplishment in its own right, but especially significant in highlighting the ongoing importance of Carla Bley's invaluable contributions, Around Again is a superb release and a triumph for these three outstanding musicians.

Track Listing: Closer; Vashkar; Batterie; Ida Lupino; Around Again; Olhos De Gato; Intermission Music; King Korn; And Now, the Queen; Utviklingssang; Start; Jesus Maria.

Personnel: Iro Haarla: piano; Ulf Krokfors: bass; Barry Altschul: drums.

Title: Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: TUM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Ante Lucem for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quintet

Ante Lucem for...

ECM Records
2017

buy
Ante Lucem for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quintet

Ante Lucem for...

ECM Records
2016

buy
Kolibri

Kolibri

TUM Records
2014

buy
Kolibri

Kolibri

TUM Records
2013

buy
Vespers

Vespers

ECM Records
2011

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Paint The Sky Album Reviews
Paint The Sky
By Andrew J. Sammut
February 21, 2019
Read God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be Album Reviews
God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
By Karl Ackermann
February 21, 2019
Read Rhyme And Reason Album Reviews
Rhyme And Reason
By Mark Corroto
February 21, 2019
Read The Definition of Insanity Album Reviews
The Definition of Insanity
By Nicholas F. Mondello
February 21, 2019
Read Omhu Album Reviews
Omhu
By Jakob Baekgaard
February 21, 2019
Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019