- Carla Bley
Infobox musical artist
Name = Carla Bley
Img_size = 219
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Birth_name = Carla Borg
Born = Birth date and age|1936|5|11
Oakland, California, U.S.
Pianist Organist Bandleader
Johnny Griffin, Gary Burton, Jimmy Giuffre, George Russell, Art Farmer
Carla Bley, née Borg, (born
May 11, 1936) is an American jazz composer, pianist, organistand band leader. An important figure in the Free Jazzmovement of the 1960s, she is perhaps best known for her jazz opera" Escalator Over The Hill" (released as a triple LP set), as well as a book of compositions that have been performed by many other artists, including Gary Burton, Jimmy Giuffre, George Russell, Art Farmerand her ex-husband Paul Bley.
Bley was born in
Oakland, California. Her father, a piano teacher and church choirmaster, encouraged her to sing and to learn to play the piano. After giving up the church to immerse herself in roller skatingat the age of fourteen, Ben Sidran, "Talking Jazz: An Illustrated Oral History", Pomegranate Artbooks, 1992] she moved to New York at seventeen and became a cigarette girl at Birdland, where she met jazz pianist Bley, whom she married in 1957.Philippe Carles, André Clergeat, and Jean-Louis Comolli, "Dictionnaire du jazz", Paris, 1994] He encouraged her to start composing. The two later divorced.
Her compositions were soon beginning to appear on record — for example, "Bent Eagle" on George Russell's "Stratusphunk" in 1960, and then "Ictus" on Jimmy Giuffre's "Thesis" and Paul Bley's "Barrage".
In 1964 she was involved in organising the
Jazz Composers Guildwhich brought together the most innovative musicians in New Yorkat the time. She then had a personal and professional relationship with Michael Mantler, with whom she had a daughter, Karen, now also a musician in her own right.
With Mantler, she co-led the
Jazz Composers' Orchestraand started the JCOA record label which issued a number of historic recordings by Clifford Thornton, Don Cherry and Roswell Rudd, as well as her own magnum opus" Escalator Over The Hill" and Mantler's "Jazz Composers' Orchestra" LPs. Bley and Mantler followed with WATTrecords, which has issued their recordings exclusively since the early 1970s. Bley and Mantler were pioneers in the development of independent artist-owned record labels and also started the now defunct New Music Distribution Servicewhich specialized in small, independent labels that issued recordings of creative improvised music.
Bley has collaborated with a number of other artists, including
Jack Bruce, Robert Wyattand Pink Floyddrummer Nick Mason, whose 1981 solo album " Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports" was a Carla Bley album in all but name. She arranged and composed music for Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, and wrote "A Genuine Tong Funeral" for Gary Burton. Her arrangement of the music for Federico Fellini's " 8½" appeared on Hal Willner's Nino Rotatribute record, "Amarcord Nino Rota". She has also contributed to other Hal Willner projects, including the song "Misterioso" for the tribute to Thelonious Monkentitled "That's the Way I Feel Now", which included Johnny Griffinas guest musician on tenor saxophone, and the Willner-directed tribute to Kurt Weill, entitled "", where she and her band contributed an arrangement of the title track, with Phil Woodsas guest musician on alto saxophone. In the late 1980s, she also performed with Anton Fier's Golden Palominosand played on their 1985 album, " Visions of Excess".
Carla Bley has continued to record frequently with her own big band and a number of smaller ensembles. Her partner, the bassist
Steve Swallow, has been her closest and most consistent musical associate in recent years. In 1997, a live version of "Escalator over the Hill" (re-orchestrated by Jeff Friedman) was performed for the first time in Cologne, Germany; in 1998 "Escalator" toured Europe, and another live performance took place in May 2006 in Essen, Germany.
In 2005 she arranged the music for and performed on
Charlie Haden's latest Liberation Music Orchestra tour and recording, "Not in Our Name".
She has worked with original band member of
Blood, Sweat and Tearsnotable Lew Solofffrom New York City, on two CD records.
* 1971: "
Escalator over the Hill" (Carla Bley and Paul Haines)
* 1974: "
Tropic Appetites" (Carla Bley)
* 1975: "
Live in 75'" (The Jack Bruce band)
* 1977: "
Dinner Music" (Carla Bley)
* 1978: "
European Tour 1977" (Carla Bley Band)
* 1979: "
Musique Mecanique" (Carla Bley Band)
* 1981: "
Fictitious Sports" ( Nick Mason, recorded 1979)
* 1981: "Social Studies" (Carla Bley Band)
* 1982: "Live!" (Carla Bley Band)
* 1983: "
The Ballad of the Fallen" (Charlie Haden and Carla Bley)
* 1984: "
I Hate to Sing" (Carla Bley Band)
* 1984: "
Heavy Heart" (Carla Bley)
* 1985: "
Night-Glo" (Carla Bley)
* 1987: "Sextet" (Carla Bley)
* 1988: "Duets" (Carla Bley and Steve Swallow)
* 1989: "
Fleur Carnivore" (Carla Bley)
* 1991: "
The Very Big Carla Bley Band" (Carla Bley Band)
* 1992: "
Go Together" (Carla Bley and Steve Swallow)
* 1993: "
Big Band Theory" (Carla Bley)
* 1994: "
Songs with Legs" (Carla Bley) [ [http://ecmrecords.com/Catalogue/Watt/26.php?cat=/Labels/Watt,/Labels/Xtra+Watt&we_start=8&lvredir=712 Songs with Legs: Performers, Tracklist etc.] ]
* 1996: "
...Goes to Church" (Carla Bley Big Band)
* 1998: "
Fancy Chamber Music" (Carla Bley)
* 1999: "
Are we there yet?" (Carla Bley and Steve Swallow)
* 2000: "4x4" (Carla Bley)
* 2003: "
Looking for America" (Carla Bley Big Band)
* 2004: "
The Lost Chords" (Carla Bley)
* 2007: "
The Lost Chords find Paolo Fresu" (Carla Bley)
* 2008: "
Appearing Nightly" (Carla Bley & Her Remarkable Big Band)
Compositions on albums by other performers
* 1967: "Genuine Tong Funeral" (
* 1969: "Liberation Music Orchestra" (
Charlie Hadenand the Liberation Music Orchestra)
* 1975: "Dreams So Real" (Gary Burton)
* 1990: "
Dream Keeper" (with Charlie Haden / Liberation Music Orchestra)
* 2005: "Not in Our Name" (with Charlie Haden / Liberation Music Orchestra)
* 1983/2003: "Live in Montreal"
Liberation Music Orchestra
List of experimental big bands
* [http://www.wattxtrawatt.com/ Official Carla Bley Website]
* [http://www.ejn.it/mus/c_bley.htm EJN: Carla Bley]
* [http://www.newmusicbox.org/article.nmbx?id=2127 Carla Bley in conversation with Frank J. Oteri]
* [http://www.wattxtrawatt.com Watt/XtraWatt music label]
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