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Carla Bley|Life Goes On

Life Goes On

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow

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A sage piano stylist audibly influenced by Basie and Monk among others, Carla Bley has over the past 60 years also become one of jazz's preeminent composers. Originally influenced by '60s jazz avant-garde, Bley, as evidenced by her latest, Life Goes On, has fashioned her own jazz ethos—what ECM's Manfred Eicher has called her "radical originality." In jazz groups of any size longevity is often impossible as the essence of the music is often dependent on the potential of new combinations of talent, and yet a large part of Bley's recent success is keyed by her working trio of bassist/life partner Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, who've been together for 25 years.

Based around three suites—her most preferred form of composition—the lean and spacious Life Goes On is wonderfully confident and distinct. The opening movement of the title track is sly blues before turning to two parts that explore her trademark melodic mingling of classical music discipline and free jazz adventure. It concludes with "And Then One Day," where Bley holds down the rhythm with a repeated figure, over which Sheppard plays jaunty lines that have more than a whiff of Paul Desmond's cool tone. "Beautiful Telephones," based upon the current chief executive's comment about the Oval Office's exceptional phones, begins with Bley downshifting emotionally and exploring a more somber mood with Swallow plucking out his notes and Sheppard's tenor saxophone providing an equally unsettling counterpoint. In this work's final movement, the tempos pick up and her characteristic humor comes to the fore as she wryly quotes "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," and other patriotic hymns in a modern echo of her '70s composition, "Spangled Banner Minor and Other Patriotic Songs." The final suite, "Copycat" explores the hallowed jazz device of call-and-response as a conversation between three supremely accomplished players, whose clairvoyant togetherness shifts between agreeable and discordant. While it's right to applaud the current rush of praise for the fresh energies that youth are bringing to music these days, the deep wisdom and impeccable craft of a pioneer like Bley deserves to be equally acclaimed. © Robert Baird / Qobuz

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Life Goes On

Carla Bley

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1
Life Goes On: Life Goes On
00:06:00

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

2
Life Goes On: On
00:04:46

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

3
Life Goes On: And On
00:04:10

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

4
Life Goes On: And Then One Day
00:09:02

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

5
Beautiful Telephones (Pt. 1)
00:04:35

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

6
Beautiful Telephones (Pt. 2)
00:06:13

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

7
Beautiful Telephones (Pt. 3)
00:06:16

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

8
Copycat: After You
00:05:29

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

9
Copycat: Follow The Leader
00:00:17

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

10
Copycat: Copycat
00:09:51

Steve Swallow, Bass Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CARLA BLEY, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Andy Sheppard, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stefano Amerio, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 ECM Records GmbH

Album Description

A sage piano stylist audibly influenced by Basie and Monk among others, Carla Bley has over the past 60 years also become one of jazz's preeminent composers. Originally influenced by '60s jazz avant-garde, Bley, as evidenced by her latest, Life Goes On, has fashioned her own jazz ethos—what ECM's Manfred Eicher has called her "radical originality." In jazz groups of any size longevity is often impossible as the essence of the music is often dependent on the potential of new combinations of talent, and yet a large part of Bley's recent success is keyed by her working trio of bassist/life partner Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, who've been together for 25 years.

Based around three suites—her most preferred form of composition—the lean and spacious Life Goes On is wonderfully confident and distinct. The opening movement of the title track is sly blues before turning to two parts that explore her trademark melodic mingling of classical music discipline and free jazz adventure. It concludes with "And Then One Day," where Bley holds down the rhythm with a repeated figure, over which Sheppard plays jaunty lines that have more than a whiff of Paul Desmond's cool tone. "Beautiful Telephones," based upon the current chief executive's comment about the Oval Office's exceptional phones, begins with Bley downshifting emotionally and exploring a more somber mood with Swallow plucking out his notes and Sheppard's tenor saxophone providing an equally unsettling counterpoint. In this work's final movement, the tempos pick up and her characteristic humor comes to the fore as she wryly quotes "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," and other patriotic hymns in a modern echo of her '70s composition, "Spangled Banner Minor and Other Patriotic Songs." The final suite, "Copycat" explores the hallowed jazz device of call-and-response as a conversation between three supremely accomplished players, whose clairvoyant togetherness shifts between agreeable and discordant. While it's right to applaud the current rush of praise for the fresh energies that youth are bringing to music these days, the deep wisdom and impeccable craft of a pioneer like Bley deserves to be equally acclaimed. © Robert Baird / Qobuz

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