23 Sep 2012

Carla Bley (b. 1936)

From Composer of the Week, 9:15 am on 23 September 2012

 

Carla Bley in San FranciscoIn a six-part series, Norman Meehan takes us from Carla Bley’s beginnings as ‘Lovella May Borg’ in a religious Californian family, through her first exposure to jazz to her first job as a cigarette girl at Birdland in New York. Later when a psychiatrist told her to give up trying to be a composer and become a seamstress, it was George Russell who saved her by telling her he wanted to record one of her pieces. After that, her life changed.

Bley began by writing tunes for small jazz groups but gradually moved into writing for larger ensembles. She started writing specifically for particular players and that had become a strength of her work by the mid-60s. After her experimental opera Escalator over the Hill, Bley turned to rock/ jazz fusion in the late 70s, but had returned primarily to jazz ten years later and she has continued in that fashion ever since.

Photo (R): Carla Bley in San Francisco in 1979. Image: Brian McMillen
Photo (Below): Carla Blay at Moers Jazz  Festival in Germany, 2012. Image: Michael Hoefner

Carla Bley at moers festival_2012

We used music from the following recordings in the programmes:

Programme 1
C BLEY: Sidewinders in Paradise, from 4X4 – Lew Soloff (tpt), Wolfgang Puschnig (a sax), Andy Sheppard on (t sax), Gary Valente (tb) Carla Bley (pno), Larry Goldings (org), Steve Swallow (bass), Victor Lewis (drms) (WATT/30)
Carla Bley interview with Ben Sidran, from Talking Jazz (Unlimited Media Limited)
HAMPTON/GOODMAN: Flying Home, from Lionel Hampton and the Just Jazz All Stars – Just Jazz All Stars (GNP Crescendo GNPD 15)
LOESSER: If I were a bell - Miles Davis Quintet (OJC20 190)
C BLEY: 0 Plus One, from Solemn Meditations - Paul Bley Quartet (FSR 515)
COLEMAN: Free, from Complete live at the Hillcrest Club - Ornette Coleman Quintet (Gambit Records 692)
C BLEY: Bent Eagle, from Stratusphunk - George Russell Band (OJCCD 232)
C BLEY: Jésus Maria, from  - Jimmy Giuffre (ECM 1438)
C BLEY: Ictus, from Paul plays Carla – Paul Bley (pno), Marc Johnson (bass), Jeff Williams (drms) (Steeplechase SCCD31303)
C BLEY: Ida Lupino, from Open to Love - Paul Bley (pno) (ECM 1023)
C BLEY: And now the Queen, from Closer - Paul Bley Trio (ESP 1021)
C BLEY: Seven, from Paul plays Carla – Paul Bley (pno), Marc Johnson (bass), Jeff Williams (drms) (Steeplechase SCCD31303)

Programme 2
C BLEY: The Opening, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: Roast, from Communications - Jazz Composer's Orchestra (Fontana Records 661 011 ZY)
C BLEY: The Opening, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: Grave Train, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: Silent Spring, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: Fanfare, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: Mother of the Dead Man, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: Morning Part Two, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: The new Funeral March, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: The Survivors, from A Genuine Tong Funeral - Gary Burton Orchestra/ Carla Bley (RCA Victor 07863 66748)
C BLEY: The Introduction – Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse IMPD 188)
C BLEY: The Interlude(Drinking Music) – Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse IMPD 188)
C BLEY: Introduction to the People, from Ballad of the Fallen - Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra (ECM 1248)
S ORTEGA: The People United will Never be Defeated, from Ballad of the Fallen - Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra (ECM 1248)
C BLEY: Too Late, from Ballad of the Fallen - Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra (ECM 1248)

Programme 3
C BLEY/ HAINES: Song to anything that moves, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: Hotel Overture, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: This is here, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: Why, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: Detective Writer's Daughter, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: All India Radio, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: Rawalpindi Blues, from Escalator over the Hill – various soloists, jazz orchestra (JCOA_EOTH 839 310)
C BLEY/ HAINES: Song of the Jungle Stream, from Tropic Appetites – Carla Bley Band (WATT_1)

Programme 4
C BLEY: Musique Mechanique II (At Midnight), from Musique Mechanique – The Carla Bley Band (WATT_9)
C BLEY: Time and Us, from Live! – The Carla Bley Band (WATT_12)
C BLEY: Wrong Key Donkey, from European Tour – The Carla Bley Band (WATT_8)
: Carla Bley interview with Ben Sidran, from Talking Jazz (Unlimited Media Limited)
C BLEY: Heavy Heart, from Heavy Heart – The Carla Bley Band (WATT_14)
C BLEY: Utviklingssang, from Social Studies – The Carla Bley Band (WATT_11)
: Carla Bley interview with Ben Sidran, from Talking Jazz (Unlimited Media Limited)
C BLEY: Floater, from Social Studies – The Carla Bley Band (WATT_11)
C BLEY: Fleur Carnivore, from Go Together – The Carla Bley Band (WATT 24)
C BLEY: The Lord is listenin’ to ya, Hallelujah, from Songs with Legs – The Carla Bley Band (WATT 26)

Programme 5
C BLEY: Romantic Notion #6, from Fancy Chamber Music – Carla Bley Band (WATT 28)
SATIE: Parade – Toulouse Capitole Orch/ Michel Plasson (EMI 7 49471)
C BLEY: ¾ ,from 13 3/4 – Carla Bley Band (WATT 3)
C BLEY: Wolfgang Tango, From Fancy Chamber Music – Carla Bley Band (WATT 28)
C BLEY: Dream Keeper, from Dream Keeper – Charlie Haden and the Liberation Orchestra (DIW 844)
C BLEY: O Tannenbaum, from Carla’s Christmas Carols– The Carla Bley Band (Watt 35)
C BLEY: Jingle Bells, from Carla’s Christmas Carols– The Carla Bley Band – (WATT 35)

Programme 6
C BLEY: Permanent Wave, from Carla Bley Goes to Church – Carla Bley Band (WATT 27)
C BLEY: Fleur Carnivore, from Fleur Carnivore - Carla Bley Band (WATT 21)
C BLEY: Setting Calvin's Waltz, from Carla Bley Goes to Church – Carla Bley Band (WATT 27)
JS Smith, arr C BLEY: The National Anthem, from Looking for America – The Carla Bley Big Band (WATT 31)
Trad, arr C BLEY: Old Macdonald had a farm, from Looking for America – The Carla Bley Big Band (WATT 31)