Carla Bley was born in Oakland, California in 1936. Her father Emil Borg, a piano teacher and church organist,
began giving her music lessons when she was three years old and she was soon playing at church functions. But
her musical education ended at the age of eight. Her formal education stopped entirely when she dropped out of
high school after completing the tenth grade.
During her adolescence Carla was drawn to jazz and moved to New York City to be closer to the musicians she
admired. She resumed her musical education by working as a cigarette girl at the notorious Birdland jazz club,
where she was able to hear the greatest jazz musicians of the day