295

Carla Bley: Rarum XV: Selected Recordings

By

Sign in to view read count
ECM has recorded the gifted and goofy composer and keyboardist Carla Bley for three decades, and this single disc career retrospective is a brilliantly compiled testimony to the breath and depth of Bley's singular talent. Until Bley, humor in jazz was primitively realized at best (e.g. vaudeville antics of Slim & Slam, Dizzy's hipster's jokes). She actually brought a cosmopolitan wit to jazz, a jazz player who knew Satie not as a tonal impressionist so much as a musical trickster. This disc opens with that facet in our faces, "Baseball," her octet's musical evocation of the noises associated with the game quite cooly and tunefully arranged. "On the Stage in Cages," does an equally humorous portrait of circus sounds, drawing perhaps on her other classical wellspring, Charles Ives, performed by her thunderous big band.

These bits of jazz humor, uproariously memorable as they are, represent just a fraction of this disc. There is a bit of a proto-bop daredevil jam ("Chicken") with long-time musical comrades bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, a touch of elegant big band tone-poetry ("Fleur Carnivore"), and a rock/jazz/neo-Wagnerian opera with a guest vocal by Linda Ronstadt ("Escalator Over the Hill"). Closing the disc is the dryly abstract Bley tune "Ictus," recorded by her ex-husband pianist Paul Bley on multiple occasions, this time with Steve Swallow and clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre.

Think of Paul Bley's steely introversion in light of Carla Bley's comic extroversion. Through her various formats, ranging from duo to huge big band, Carla Bley has always loved presenting jazz as a spectacle, as a colorful, blasting, brassy, bossy, audacious event. The late Cuban diva Celia Cruz sang "Life is a Carnival." Carla Bley and her various musicians never seem far from that perspective.

Track Listing: 1. Baseball, 2. Major, 3. End of Vienna, 4. Chicken, 5. On the Stage in Cages, 6. Fleur Carnivore, 7. More Brahms, 8. Walking Batteriewoman, 9. Silence, 10. Why, 11. Ictus

Personnel: Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Andy Sheppard, Wolfgang Puschnig, Gato Barbieri, Dewey Redman, Jim Pepper, Jimmy Lyons, Roswell Rudd, Charlie Haden, D. Sharpe, Vistor Lewis, Linda Ronstadt, Annie Whitehead, and many others.

Title: Rarum XV: Selected Recordings | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "The Better Angels of Our Nature" CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°" CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Garden(s)" CD/LP/Track Review Garden(s)
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "Kind Of New 2: Blue Is Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Kind Of New 2: Blue Is Paris
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.