Search - Carla Bley :: Looking for America

Looking for America
Carla Bley
Looking for America
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

For over forty years, Carla Bley has written music that infuses jazz traditions with her own personality. She continues to lead a variety of ensembles, from small combos to large-scale big bands. With Looking for America, ...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Carla Bley
Title: Looking for America
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: ECM Records
Release Date: 5/13/2003
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Swing Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 044006779126, 0044006779126

Synopsis

Amazon.com
For over forty years, Carla Bley has written music that infuses jazz traditions with her own personality. She continues to lead a variety of ensembles, from small combos to large-scale big bands. With Looking for America, Bley returns to the big band format. Totaling 18 pieces, the group is a rich blend of 13 horns, two keyboards, and a rhythm section. She has worked with many of the featured musicians for decades, and Bley consequently composes and arranges with their individual voices in mind. Here she returns to a theme she's visited before, most notably on her European Tour 1977 album (with the piece "Spangled Banner Minor and Other Patriotic Songs"). Touching on the whole of the North American continent, there are nods to Mexico ("Tijuana Traffics") and Canada ("O Canada"). Once again, Carla Bley excels at deconstructing the familiar. --David Greenberger
 

CD Reviews

Irony & (/or?) patriotism
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 07/08/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"As Carla Bley herself says, "The timing couldn't have been worse." 21 minutes of this (59-minute) album are taken up by a suite based around "The Star Spangled Banner"; the album was actually released as US forces assailed Iraq, not exactly a great time to be flagwaving, even with a dose of Carla Bley's characteristic irony. In the event the suite is a rather unsettling mix of cheerfully jaunty grooves & some darker sequences, notably the moody setpiece for Andy Sheppard's tenor & the following free-jazz uproar which leads to a rather mystifying interpolation of "O Canada". The piece ends fittingly on an ambiguous & downbeat moment: a rousing & mostly "straight" (though mildly harmonically tweaked) statement of the national anthem is interrupted by a very dark response led by Gary Valente's trombone, & the piece then completely deflates, the final phrase of the national anthem delivered in a barely-audible pianissimo. I imagine that the interpretation of the piece's import & success will vary wildly with each listener, which is as it should be.The rest of the album is something of a grab bag of snippets & finished items from Bley's workshop--four lovely miniatures that are all that remains of a failed attempt at a large-scale work, "The Mother"; bits & pieces from various commissions that didn't pan out (e.g. an album of traditional & children's songs that never came to fruition--the result is a peppy setting of "Old Macdonald Had a Farm"); a bop workout called "Fast Lane"; a nice Latin ballad, & a weird takeoff of Mexican music called "Tijuana Traffic" (which has a startlingly dissonant interlude in the middle which is neither prepared for nor resolved, simply starts & stops; the rest is merry south-of-the-border pastiche). It's all worth hearing, but somehow this strikes me as too bitty an album, & too dependent on the listener's being attuned to Bley's musical & ironic sensibility, to rank with her strongest work. Still, definitely worth a listen, not least for the memorably weird reworking of the national anthem."