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Carla Bley - Escalator Over the Hill (with Paul Haines) CD (album) cover


Carla Bley


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.44 | 23 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Jazz in opposition?

This somewhat early album from Carla Bley is one of her excursions into the realm of musical theater. The words were written by Paul Haines. While I must admit that I enjoy the lyrics in the context of each song, I never had the patience to attempt to figure out what is going on in the story.

Musically, Bley divides her big band into subsets, with some players bleeding over into different groupings. Primarily, there's the big band. Her compositions for the group are mostly extremely avant garde, often reminding me of groups like Henry Cow or the Art Bears, but with more horns. But there are many tracks that feature John McLaughlin on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass, Paul Motian on drums, with Bley on keyboards. These tracks are electric fusion jams that electrify the album.

Other notables on the album, aside from a number of well known jazz greats, are Don Preston (around the end of his Mothers of Invention tenure) and, believe it or not, Linda Ronstadt.

This album is a treat for those with an adventurous spirit.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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