The Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church
The Carla Bley Big Band
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Recorded live during an Italian jazz festival, The Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church is a perfect showcase for the forward-thinking compositions and arrangements of Carla Bley. Starting with "Setting Calvin's Waltz," a gentle, reverent blues that blooms into a nearly 24 minute workout for the whole ensemble, the album displays Bley's spontenaiety, flexibility and lightness, unique to her and few others within the modern large group format. It helps that this material is highly sympathetic to her style — as Bley's band splits apart into sections and solos, then reforms again, echoes can be heard of gospel music, with its powerful choirs counterpointed by the clarity of a single voice. Not quite as experimental as her earlier compositions, this album manages, regardless to be among her best work in the '90s.