Carla Bley Trio this weekend. The past few days have been personal quests for Musical Comfort Food; that music which soothes the soul, offers solace and brings optimism, along with strength and a certain psychic nod that indicates everything will be okay, no matter what.
Carla Bley is one of the foremost American composer/arrangers of Contemporary Music/Jazz (one in the same, as far as I’m concerned) since the 1960s. It is, at once, expansive and evocative. And on closer inspection, engaging, adventurous and fulfilling.
Hers is a music that offers an intricate landscape and a myriad of tones and colors – all in synchronous fit.
Her colleagues, Steve Swallow on bass and Andy Shepherd on sax are the perfect ensemble – they help set the scene and offer their points of view. The end result is a tapestry that begs repeated viewings.
This concert, from Uppsala Sweden in 2015, is part of a celebration of music written by Carla Bley. This concert is strictly the trio. There was a later concert which featured a Big Band performing her larger pieces. I hope to include that one in the coming weeks. In addition to her own big Band and her trio, she has collaborated with a wide range of artists, from Art Farmer, Gary Burton and Charlie Haden to Jack Bruce and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason.
Although she is quite well known in Jazz and Contemporary music circles, I suspect she’s not well known outside of that, certainly not within the confines of the mainstream. And that’s a shame. This is music for people to wrap their heads around, even if they aren’t fans of Jazz or Contemporary music.
So if you aren’t familiar with the music of Carla Bley, or haven’t heard her trio (I posted a BBC Concert with this trio a couple of years ago), please take an hour off and check this one out. It’s well worth it.