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Jazz Articles | Blog

INTERVIEWS

Carla Bley: Shoe Leather, Mystery & Moxie

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With the passing of time. That's roughly how the title of Carla Bley's second trio album for ECM translates. Bley turned eighty a few months before the release of Andando el Tiempo but the passing years, if anything, have sharpened her composer's claws and whetted her playing appetite, judging by the music on this, her third collaboration with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard following the live album Songs With Legs (Watt, 1994) and Trios (ECM, 2013). While most ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Carla Bley: Andando el Tiempo

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A few months shy of three years following the release of Trios (ECM, 2013), composer/keyboardist and NEA Jazz Master Carla Bley returns with Andando el Tiempo, an album of largely introspective music that shares much with its predecessor, but also acts as a flip side of the same coin. Like Trios, Andando el Tiempo was recorded in Lugano, Italy (albeit in two different rooms) and brings back the same trio that first appeared on 1994's Songs With Legs ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow: Andando el Tiempo

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There are few figures in modern music that are truly more iconic than Carla Bley. Her list of accomplishments are impossible to chronicle in this limited space, but suffice to say that her influence traverses genres, styles and generations, in a way that perhaps no other artist has approached. Her early crowning jewel--the jazz opera Escalator Over The Hill (JCOA Records, 1971)--featured a who's-who of music including Jack Bruce, Linda Ronstadt, Don Cherry, Don Preston, Charlie Haden, Michael Mantler, Karen ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Tribute to Carla Bley: Mandala Octet and Mandala Orchestra

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Mandala Octet and Mandala Orchestra SFJAZZ San Francisco, CA June 5, 2015 Steve McQuarry had an epiphany last December. While on the phone with Karen Mantler, daughter of eminent avant-garde jazz composer Carla Bley, McQuarry realized that he would like to play some of her tunes onstage, and Mantler offered to send him the charts. A package containing the charts duly arrived, and McQuarry went about assembling a big band. The results ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carla Bley / Andy Sheppard / Steve Swallow: Trios

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In Lugano, Switzerland in 2012, pianist Carla Bley, saxophonist Andy Sheppard and bassist Steve Swallow were recorded, and the result is Trios (EMC 2013). This CD is atmospheric and energised. Included are new versions of Bley's original “Utviklingssang" ( “Development Song"), “Vashkar" and the suites “Les Trois Lagons" , “Wildlife," and “The Girl Who Cried Champagne." It marks Bley's departure from the ECM distributed WATT label which has been her platform for the past 40 years, and her first recording ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carla Bley / Andy Sheppard / Steve Swallow: Trios

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In a career more defined by memorable compositions than instrumental acumen, it's easy to forget that Carla Bley may not be the most virtuosic pianist on the planet, but she's a far more than capable one, as evidenced on duo recordings like Are We There Yet? (Watt, 1999), with life partner/bassist Steve Swallow, and Songs With Legs (WATT, 1995), a trio date with longtime collaborator, saxophonist Andy Sheppard--also heard in Bley's larger ensemble of Appearing Nightly (Watt/ECM, 2008) and quartet ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Amy C. Beal: Carla Bley

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Carla Bley Amy C. Beal Softcover, 114 pages University of Illinois Press ISBN: 9780252078187 2011 Remarkably, this is the first detailed, published study of the career and music of Carla Bley, the distinguished composer, keyboardist, band leader and activist. It is the seventh volume in the University of Illinois' American Composers series, following studies of Lou Harrison, John Cage, Dudley Buck, William Grant Still, Rudolf Friml and Elliott Carter. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carla Bley: Carla's Christmas Carols

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Carla's Christmas Carols? For many, the idea of their favorite jazz artist releasing an album of seasonal songs usually smells of crass commercialism or pure pandering, but leave it to pianist/composer/arranger Carla Bley to produce an album that's as reverentially in the spirit of the season as it gets, while being musically deep enough to fit within her substantial discography with complete relevance. And it is reverential. Accompanied by longtime partner, bassist Steve Swallow, and the German Partyka ...


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