Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Carla Bley - Musique Mecanique CD (album) cover


Carla Bley

Jazz Rock/Fusion

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is the album that made me a fan of Carla Bley's music. It was a combination of the adventurous compositions, and her ability to make me laugh with just musical notes that blew me away.

The music on this album falls somewhere in between big band and fusion, with an emphasis on horns. Terry Adams (NRBQ) on piano and Eugene Chadbourne on guitars add a bit of rock to the mix.

440 begins the album, with the band warming up, and then jamming in (you guessed it) the key of A. The piece bears a slight resemblance to The Piano Lesson on the later "I Hate To Sing" album, and it really turns into some fine soloing.

On Jesus Maria And Other Spanish Strains, the band goes through a number of Spanish themes. The best part is where Gary Windo imitates a childs voices (I think he's siging through the mouthpiece of his sax or clarinet, but I can't be sure).

The greatest tracks are the Musique Mecanique trio. The first starts with random tones and noises, and builds, machine-like into a frenzy. Bley's toy piano, her daughter karen mantler's glockenspiel, and Chadbourne's walkie-talkie noises help make this song amazing.

The absolute best song, and still my favorite Bley tune ever is the third part, a lumbering heavy track, which features the band imitating a skipping record (To you kids out there, a record is a vinyl disk, with music cut into spiral grooves. When a piece of dust got caught in a groove, the needle that turned the grooves into sound could get bumped back one groove, causing a weird skipping rhythmic sound). It must be heard.

Report this review (#648403)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Released in 1979, you might well ask: Does the music hold up? To my ears, mind and nervous system the answer is affirmative.

Is this Prog? If you like music that is adventurous and creative and experimental and innovative and has musicians locked in so tight with the material that the ensemble power of them at times gives you pause for happiness...if hearing music that you will hear nowhere else and catching the humor that is communicated through the sounds and hearing melodies and motifs that are relaxing and stimulating at the same time, then, Carla Bley's music is something you might want to check into at some point in your life.

There are a few voices on this album but not many. The only vocal per se is on Musique Mecanique ii (At Midnight).

If you Steely Dan fans ever wondered who Fagan and Becker were listening to when they were making music history fusing jazz and rock Carla is one of the answers (Weather Report and Keith Jarrett are a few others).

To be crystal clear: there is not much rock on this album. It's coming from a jazz/classical/avant garde/rock/human point of view. If you want a "21st Century Schizoid Man" it isn't here. There are echoes of classic albums like the Dan's "Aja", RTF's "Romantic Warrior", Weather Report's "Night Passage" and the work of Art Zoyd.

This is challenging music, so, be in the mood to be challenged when you hear it. Hope you enjoy it.

Report this review (#1065267)
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | Review Permalink

CARLA BLEY Musique Mecanique ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of CARLA BLEY Musique Mecanique

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives