Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Carla Bley Strikes Back!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the greatest big band masterpieces. Carla Bley composes and arranges with an astounding sense of maturity (some may consider uncharacteristic of her) but still retaining that quirky storytelling and self-mocking charm she is known and loved for. The soloists on this album are spectacular.Fleur Carnivore, a dedication to Duke Ellington, is beautiful and unpredictably ferocious as the name would connote, and the great sound quality makes the horns' animalistic pounces even more exciting. Some of the tightest playing I've heard.Song of...Canute is a pulsing unsettling latin tune with a great solo by the characteristically overblowing Christof Lauer.Ups and Downs is an excellent light hearted swing, with a melodic line that truly goes up and down. Swallow's walking support is to die for.The Girl Who Cried Champagne is an engaging and humorous suite-story handing a main theme over to many terrific solos, including Karen Mantler's one-too-many-glasses solo. Finally, Carla always ends up with something down to earth soulful, as is Healing Power, a "get-well" song she wrote for a sick friend. The band struts with emotion as this tremendously classic album comes to a close.Find a copy of it as soon as possible"
Brilliant big band bash
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The end of the big bands was for me hastened by the introduction of free jazz. Instead of a bunch of musicians being whipped in to shape by a leader like Basie, Ellington, Shaw etc with a few featured soloists, we got a free-for-all with everyone on stage expecting to be able to do his thing as and when he wanted. With a small group this might have been justifiable but in large numbers all I heard was chaos and anarchy. As a result I tended to steer away from `modern' large groups. Until I heard this album. What a revelation! The discipline, professionalism and arrangements of older-style bands is present, but with modern melodies, harmonies and musical styles. The title track is particularly impressive. Commisioned from Carla Bley to mark the 10th anniversary of Ellington's death, it is something I think wouldn't have sounded out of place in his own later suites. The invention of composition by Bley and skill of execution by some splendid musicians (Lew Soloff and Andy Sheppard are particularly strong) made me feel as if I was hearing an old favourite on the very first listening. All the tracks show exactly what power a large group can have, and how the emotions it can stir are quite different from listening to small intimate quartets etc. If this is what big band music has become, I'm delighted. The album is a live recording and the level of audience and background noise is, for me, just right to give the atmosphere without detracting from the music in any way. On the basis of this one album you can call me a convert - I will certainly try other Carla Bley recordings now to see how they measure up!"