Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carla Bley A Very Very Short Introduction To One of the Most Significant Living Composers [Anthony McCarthy]

She is one of the most important living composers, a jazz composer, performer, arranger, distributor, etc. Carla Bley has been working many of the finest musicians and singers of the past fifty years and is one of the all round good musical citizens of the world.

There are so many ways into her music, the Very Big Band, smaller big bands, various smaller groups, her mind-blowing opera, Escalator Over The Hill, other land marks in recent music such as Genuine Tong Funeral. And then there are the duets, especially those which she has been playing with her long-term companion, the bass player Steve Swallow. They are some of the most moving and intimate pieces imaginable. That’s where I’ll start

Houses and People


Reactionary Tango

Ups and Downs, with Andy Sheppard on Saxophone

A Very Very Simple Melody

Carla Bley has produced some of the funniest songs and pieces in recent times as well as pieces that are profoundly absorbing, passionate and deep. She has also written some of the best work in what would usually be considered the avant garde, about which I’ll post later.

I am also deeply grateful to her and her associates for The New Music Distribution Service, the source for much ear extending, mind altering music.

You might want to check out her Watt World Headquarters, a fun website, with many features including a goldmine of lead sheets of many of her pieces.