Since we’re approaching knee-deep in the Christmas season, what better excuse to play the Carla Bley Christmas Carols Concert from Berlin in 2008 than now. As one of the leading lights in the Free Jazz Movement, Bley has been involved in an extraordinary number of projects, with a far ranging and diverse batch of fellow-travelers.
Here she is heading up a group consisting of the legendary Steve Swallow on bass, Tobias Weidinger on Trumpet and Glockenspiel, Axel Schlosser on Trumpet, Christine Chapman on French Horn, Adrian Mears on Trombone and Ed Partyka and Bass Trombone and Tuba. And of course the inimitable Carla Bley doing the arrangements as well as playing Piano and leading the ensemble.
A little background: Carla and Steve Swallow went directly to Bari, Italy, and rehearsed with the Partyka Brass Quintet in preparation for a whirlwind Christmas Carol tour of five countries in five days; they played in Italy, Greece, Germany, Poland and France, then went to the south of France and recorded the album: Carla’s Christmas Carols. This marked the end of a record-breaking series of formats
in a short time period – from quintet to chamber orchestra to trio to solo to duets with brass quintet. Carla was glad to get back to her desk and spent the winter writing a new piece for trumpet and big band.
In case you need a bit of reminding on the Carols being played, here goes:
01 O Tannenbaum 02:23
02 Silent Night And Day 08:35
03 Jingle Bells 03:22
04 The Christmas Song 05:25
05 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 05:35
06 O Holy Night – Joy To The World 08:29
07 God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen 09:46
08 O Come To Bethlehem, All Ye Faithful 05:53
I know ECM issued this concert commercially. This is rather the original broadcast, coming from RBB Kulturradio in Berlin on December 4, 2008.
A good time was had by all. A little something to set up the Christmas Tree with. No?