Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Songs With Legs
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Christian
Carla Bley performs originals in a trio setting, with frequent partner Steve Swallow and an alumnus of her big bands, English saxophonist Andy Sheppard. He shines on tenor and soprano, and clearly has empathic partners. Be... more »
Listen to Samples
Carla Bley performs originals in a trio setting, with frequent partner Steve Swallow and an alumnus of her big bands, English saxophonist Andy Sheppard. He shines on tenor and soprano, and clearly has empathic partners. Between judicious contributions, Bley helps out Swallow in the drummerless rhythm section. Fine collaboration, as well as faultless writing and arranging, is her forte, rather than sheer piano chops. As for Swallow, his electric bass sings and lilts, with an attention to his partners that is truly impressive. He steps out front sparingly and effectively. The pieces are all by Bley except Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso," heard here in Bley's fine arrangement. Other highlights are a fittingly galumphing "Wrong Key Donkey" and a swaying "The Lord Is Listenin' to Ya, Hallelujah," where Bley rejoices in the chapel, as her big band would do so successfully a couple of years later on Goes to Church. The album takes her far from the grandeur and bulk of the big-band work, but it has the same intricacy and subtle play of convention and invention. --Peter Monaghan
Finest Trio Work , and recorded wonderfully, live.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It really doesn't get any better than this! Steve Swallow is extrordinary in this drummerless trio. His playing is so right- on rythmically and in structure with this amazing trio, you don't miss, or want the drums at all. This recording features one of the finest electric bass solo ever recorded. The sound on this CD is wonderful, full and natural."
On the small scale
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 08/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Carla Bley and Steve Swallow have been performing as a duo for years. For this disc they're joined by the UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard. Rather oddly the six tracks on the disc were recorded at six different concerts given throughout Europe--though one wouldn't have guessed this just from the recording, as the acoustic quality and piano don't sound especially different from track to track. The point of the title is presumably that all six songs--five originals, plus an arrangement of Monk's "Misterioso"--are established numbers from Bley's big-band repertoire, refashioned in this trio context.It's a slightly odd album, in that it pairs Bley, who like Gil Evans or George Russell plays "arranger's piano" rather than being a highly skilled soloist, with two virtuosic players. For me the main attraction is actually in hearing Steve Swallow, who is without a doubt the finest electric bassist in jazz. Still, I do find the album, like the Swallow/Bley duo albums, rather too cloistered and conspiratorial to have a strong impact--I think I'd rather hear the full band (check out the recent, marvellous _...Goes to Church_, for instance). & in this stripped-down context the tunes based on single-chord bass riffs are rather dull. That said, there are two superb tracks here: the Monk arrangement (a gospelly version of the tune which more or less ignores its original chord changes), & the glorious & lovely closing tune, "Crazy With You"."
Unique Bley arrangements of jazz classics and others
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Carla Bley's uniquely imaginative and original arrangements, coupled with the incomparable bass guitar of Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard's mellow but incisive sax make this an unmissable addtion to the collection for all 'Watts family' fans: anyone who hasn't heard them SHOULD!"