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Carla Bley - Tropic Appetites CD (album) cover


Carla Bley


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.08 | 8 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This is the first album I've heard by Carla Bley. Indeed, the first time I've heard any of her music. My instincts are classifying her in the same compartment of my mind as the legendary Zawinul/Shorter Weather Report work. Carla, of course, employed a far greater range of musicians creating a broader spectrum of work than Weather Report. But, imho, if you like one, you'll probably like the other.

1. "What Will Be Left Between Us and the Moon Tonight?" Great opening track. Love the intro with Carla's piano. Great piano/bass/percussion foundation for the horn players to lay out. The Latin flavored section that closes this piece really gave me a most pleasant surprise. Builds to an effective climax.

2. "In India" A short interlude with Julie Tippetts' voicing over minimal instrumentation. In a film I would say this piece serves the same purpose as landscape views giving the audience a sense of place.

3. "Enormous Tots" Opens with a Brecht/Weill cabaret. Lots of tempo changes. I prefer to think of Howard Johnson's voice contributions not as singing but as a kind of recitation of Haines' writing. Bawdy elements are present. Some seriously oppressive musical moments as well, probably drawn from some of the more risqué times he experienced in Southeast Asia, perhaps? Builds to an effective climax.

4. "Caucasian Bird Riffles" Beautiful. Simple. Well arranged. This is a song that could have been arranged as a powerful, bombastic piece, but wasn't.

5. "Funnybird Song" 1:20 of cuteness. In this piece Johnson doesn't sing in as much as he creates a likeable character to voice some funny words.

6. "Indonesian Dock Sucking Supreme" Somber intro, evolves numerous times into engaging sax/violin/keyboard/bass solo's. A lot going on in this piece. Numerous tempo and mood changes. Some serious improvisations over some serious structures. To my ears it succeeds perfectly as it segues imperceptibly into....

7. "Song of the Jungle Stream" Begins with voices. Gets orchestral. Settles into a song proper for a while. Evolves into some intelligently written dissonant notes. Jazz Opera comes to mind. Bass guitar moves to the forefront, voices reemerge. Polyrhythms, voices reemerge evolving into a satisfyingly calm and melodic conclusion.

8. "Nothing" The Brecht/Weill cabaret motif returns, evolving into a melodic section evolving into the Latin motif, evolving, changing, and resolving into the climax.

A serious work by a serious composer with serious musicians creating a work of substantial worth and enjoyment.

4 stars

schizoidman | 4/5 |


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