parlando playlist #11: the carla bley band ● the piano lesson [1984]

Posted on September 28th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Parlando Playlist.

Keyboardist Carla Bley (née Borg) (no, really) is number 11 on the Parlando Playlist, the first time that Bley (Borg!) shows up, but not the last. Since 1966 she's recorded more than forty albums, of which at least eight (by my estimate, of course) are simply great, about twenty are excellent (including the great ones), and every one is good. (Except I don't have four, so can't testify for their worth.) She's 77 now, and she's finally slowing down (unfortunately).

"The Piano Lesson" is from I Hate to Sing, recorded live, the first side at the Great American Music Hall, the second side at Krog Kill Studio ("The Piano Lesson" is on the second side).

Carla Bley (organ & glockenspiel), Steve Swallow (bass), Steve Slagle (clarinet & alto and soprano saxophone), D. Sharpe (drums), Arturo O'Farrill (piano), Vincent Chancey (french horn), Tony Dagradi (tenor saxophone), Gary Valente (trombone), Michael Mantler (trumpet), Bob Stewart (tuba). Composer: Carla Bley.
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current parlando playlist

2 comments.

Gavin

Comment on October 3rd, 2013.

It was prudent of you to not acquire the four albums that aren't good.

Are there ever vocals, or is she working in an instrumental mode?

Scraps

Comment on October 3rd, 2013.

I corrected my funny sentence, thank you. (And left a explanation -- here -- so people reading your comment aren't confused.)

Carla Bley is mostly jazz, 95% instrumental. But. She did have one rock album with Nick Mason (Pink Floyd's drummer) called Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports (1981), with Robert Wyatt mostly on vocals; I consider this as a Carla Bley album (or half Bley, half Mason) despite the name, because she wrote all the tracks, and the band is mostly hers.

She also recorded two avant-garde jazz albums with vocals in the early seventies; 1971's sprawling Escalator Over the Hill made her name, in fact. Those albums had lyrics by Paul Haines. (Mostly the musicians were jazz -- Charlie Haden, Gato Barbieri, Michael Mantler, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, etc -- but also rock musicians: Jack Bruce, Linda Ronstadt, etc.) Ever since, though, she's pretty much made instrumental music.

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