Carla Bley – Steve Swallow – with the HR Big Band – October 24, 1999 – Frankfurt Radio –
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Carla Bley and Steve Swallow along with the HR Big Band live at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt on October 24, 1999.
Two acclaimed composer/musicians in their own right, their collaboration together has been an ongoing thing since the 70s.
A highly regarded pianist, composer, and arranger, Carla Bley has been at the forefront of avant-garde jazz and modern creative music since the ’60s. She initially emerged as a composer, working closely with her first husband, pianist Paul Bley, as well as progressive artists like George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre. She is a founder of the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra and her long-form jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill stands as a distinct stylistic signpost of the era. Bley has worked with a host of free-jazz icons — including Pharaoh Sanders, Steve Lacy, and Peter Brotzmann, among others — and continued to compose challenging genre-bending works into the 21st century. Along with her many large ensemble works, she has regularly collaborated in a trio with her partner bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, issuing albums like 2013’s Trios, 2016’s Andando el Tiempo, and 2020’s Life Goes On.
A lauded bassist and composer, Steve Swallow is an influential performer who helped define the sound of post-bop, fusion, and modern creative jazz. An individualist on his chosen instrument, Swallow is known for emphasizing high notes and often approaches the electric bass as if it were a guitar. Following his initial emergence in the 1960s playing progressive jazz with Jimmy Giuffre and George Russell, he established long associations with pianist Paul Bley, trumpeter Art Farmer, vibraphonist Gary Burton, and others. Swallow has issued albums under his own name, including 1987’s Carla, 1991’s Swallow, and 1996’s Deconstructed. He is also a longtime member of a trio with his partner, pianist Carla Bley, and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, issuing albums like 2013’s Trios, 2016’s Andando el Tiempo, and 2020’s Life Goes On. A gifted composer, he is also recognized for writing such songs as “Eiderdown,” “Falling Grace,” and “Hotel Hello.”
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