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Carla Bley: Carla's Christmas Carols

Read "Carla's Christmas Carols" reviewed by John Kelman

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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Carla Bley: The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu

Read "The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu" reviewed by Jim Santella

Founded in 2003, Carla Bley's quartet The Lost Chords interprets her music with emotional depth and superior musicianship. By adding guest trumpeter Paolo Fresu for this session, she has stumbled on a formula that emphasizes camaraderie and spirit-sharing. The five artists fuse well together through blues, ballads, lyrical arias and the occasional ruckus. Far from predictable, Bley's music engulfs the band as if in a cozy den with fireplace and library, where the walls are covered with tapestries that tell ...

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Carla Bley: The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu

Read "The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu" reviewed by Martin Gladu

Is Carla Bley a Naive artist? The commercial exploitation of her works notwithstanding, one finds, in the simplicity and recurrence of themes; progressions and forms; and idiosyncratic style--as well as in the peculiar ponderous feel to much of her compositions, self-trained, instinctive approach to music-making and libertarian personality--many of the same features found in Naive artistry.While the unicity and originality of her music and longevity in a particularly tough milieu are to be applauded, broader audiences remain somewhat ...

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Carla Bley: The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu

Read "The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu" reviewed by Budd Kopman

On The Lost Chords Meet Paolo Fresu, Carla Bley has composed music for her quartet, plus the outstanding Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu that is just about the ideal mixture of beauty and intellect. It is almost scandalous to write about a recording and give away its secrets to the unsuspecting listener who, in an ideal world, would enjoy the point of the music much more by just putting it in the player and listening. To be sure, ...

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Carla Bley: The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu

Read "The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu" reviewed by John Kelman

Once Carla Bley finds musicians she likes, she sticks with them. Bassist Steve Swallow, also Bley's life partner, dates back with the pianist/composer/bandleader to Musique Mecanique (WATT, 1979). Saxophonist Andy Sheppard first appeared on Bley's classic Fleur Carnivore (WATT, 1989). She's recorded with both on the trio Songs with Legs (WATT, 1995), but it was on The Lost Chords (WATT, 2004), with relative newcomer Billy Drummond on drums, that they best gelled as a small ensemble.

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Carla Bley: The Lost Chords

Read "The Lost Chords" reviewed by Brian P. Lonergan

Pianist Carla Bley's supple Lost Chords quartet is a bit like a group of longtime dance partners--the individuals move in sure step together, but leave each other ample freedom to move. The musical result is an airy, spacious feel that doesn't sacrifice groove or drive.Far from being strangers, the four notes in this chord are quite familiar with each other. Joining Bley on piano is her longtime partner Steve Swallow (electric bass), Andy Sheppard (soprano and tenor sax), ...

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Carla Bley: The Lost Chords

Read "The Lost Chords" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Carla Bley is interesting and witty in relating the experiences of the band on their first European tour in the liner notes to this new release. The pictures are great too, and if one wants to get deeper into the whole experience, just log on to the Watt web site and have dollops of fun! It is easy to see what led to the name of The Lost Chords.

Bley is an uncompromising composer. She writes with wit ...


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