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Album Review

On many of her recordings, Carla Bley could hardly be accused of hogging the spotlight as a soloist; emphasizing her talents as a bandleader, composer and arranger, she tended to let her sidemen take the long solos. But she gave herself a lot more space on 1992's Go Together and Songs with Legs, a live album that was recorded during a May 1994 tour that included dates in Turkey and Western Europe. Forming a drumless trio with longtime ally Steve Swallow (bass) and Britain's flexible Andy Sheppard (tenor and soprano sax), Bley sticks to the acoustic piano and gives herself plenty of room to stretch out. It's a shame that she often chose to take few solos in the past, for Bley's pianism is quite appealing on Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso" and angular, cerebral originals like "Wrong Key Donkey," "Chicken," and "Real Life Hits." Meanwhile, the CD's less abstract, more accessible tunes include the churchy "The Lord Is Listenin' to Ya, Hallelujah!" and the dreamy, Pharoah Sanders-ish "Crazy with You." For those who've said they wish Bley would solo more often, Songs with Legs is an album to hear.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the more intriguing and versatile British musicians, Andy Sheppard has on occasion made a big impression in the United States. He did not start playing music until he was 19 and planning to go to art college; a listen to John Coltrane's recordings changed the direction of his life. Within three weeks Sheppard was playing in public, but quite a few years of scuffling followed as he learned his craft and developed his own sound. In 1986, Sheppard won a jazz competition and was signed to the...
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Songs With Legs, Andy Sheppard
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