Music Review

Book Reviews and Reading Diary
CD Buying Guide and Music Links
Best-of lists
CD Reviews
CDs, sorted by Style
CDs, sorted by year issued
CDs, sorted by publication review ran in
CDs by San Diego bands
All CDs, sorted by band name
All CDs, sorted by album title
Favorite quotations
Contact Me

Bley in church: Great acoustics, hot solos

The Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church
The Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church
By the Carla Bley Big Band

ECM Records: 1997

This review first appeared in the April 25, 1997 edition of the North County Times.

Carla Bley in church? She of the wild hair and even wilder avant-garde jazz?

Well, sort of. Her latest release was recorded live at the Chiesa San Francesco Al Prato in Perugia, Italy, of all places. However, it's not really religious music, excepting a cover of Carl Ruggles' "Exaltation" and Bley's own "Religious Experience."

Instead, the majority of the music here is what might best be described as symphonic jazz – with that usual Bley out-thereness. Still, this isn't so far removed from Count Basie's late-1960s band: lots of solid ensemble work, hot solos, great piano.

And the acoustics of the Chiesa San Francesco Al Prato are fantastic – the sound quality on this release is better than most studio recordings.