Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Carla Bley - Selected Recordings :rarum XV (2004)

ECM :rarum MONTH* (MARCH 2017)

A brilliant composer/keyboardist/band leader that successfully manages to combine avant-garde, art music, and jazz with a wonderful sense of irreverent humor. Even more impressive when you consider she had no formal music training beyond piano lessons as a youth (there's yet another argument against overpriced higher education). Unique instrumentation varies greatly from track to track: one cut might have Bley performing with a big band, followed by a string quartet, the next cut features only a piano and bass. We're even treated to a oddly folkish song with vocals by a young Linda Ronstadt from Bley's jazz opera Escalator Over The Hill. I should own more of her CDs. An acquired taste, but one well-worth acquiring.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: 11 tracks, 76 minutes.


4 x 4
Are We There Yet?
End of Vienna
Fancy Chamber Music
Song with Legs
On the Stage In Cages
Big Band Theory
Fleur Carnivore
Fleur Carnivore
More Brahms
Walking Batteriewoman
Social Studies
The Ballad of the Fallen
Escalator Over the Hill
Thesis (Jimmy Giuffre 3)

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Previously revisited for the blog:
Musique Mecanique (1979)

*Back in June 2015, this beautiful thing showed up at my doorstep:

It's a 12 CD box set (2008) of compilation discs from ECM's :rarum series, a birthday gift from a good friend.  In this series, the artists were given the freedom to pick their personal favorite recordings from any ECM release they've made as a leader or sideman. In other words, the label got outta the way and good for them.  I'll be making my way through the set this month.

ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music), originally a German label, was founded in 1969. "Rarum" comes from the Latin root "rarus" meaning "rare" (perhaps foreshadowing that these CDs wouldn't be in print for very long).

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