Music is nature's language. What it is telling you is to shut up for once and listen.
When you hear Carla's piano playing, at first it sounds like a piano bar in some out of the way hotel, something that we usually look down on, but wait a second, what was that chord? And did she just flip the whole piece to minor?
You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…
There is something about this couple that is comforting, like an embrace, something accepting, with open arms, with a smile, with a cup of hot chocolate. I remember the first piece I heard, or actually saw on TV as I remember Carla's grey lion hair and swallow's thin frame holding on to the bass. And I remember immediately falling in love.
I don't think you can ever regain your ignorance."
When you hear Carla's piano playing, at first it sounds like a piano bar in some out of the way hotel, something that we usually look down on, but wait a second, what was that chord? And did she just flip the whole piece to minor? The layers of complex thinking are hidden under the Zen simplicity of the melody, the basic swing, the three chords that make the skeleton. So simple. So beautiful.
I like chords that are very lush with all the lush parts taken out."
Carla Bley is much more than a pianist, or a jazz musician. Her commission work comes from all over the world and from all across the spectrum of music, with classical pianists asking for innovative pieces for their repertoire, she was one of the first influences of 'free jazz' and she even wrote an opera.
And then you have Steve swallow, the partner in everything, and the partner in jazz, coming in with a swinging bass line that holds everything together with an old 40's cool jazz swagger and a thought provoking fretless endless perfect solo, flowing on those piano chords like a surfer on a big wave about to crush to the shore.
I don't meditate before I play or compose, but I see playing and composing as meditative acts." - Steve Swallow
Steve swallow for me is the perfect jazz bass player. He is Jaco Pastorias's musical father, a wiser older kind of player, a wiser older kind of jazz. The kind that makes me feel warm inside.
Swallow was one of the main teachers in Berkeley for a decade, and in my mind I can see his father figure fragile frame sitting there with a bass on his knees, talking about music, jazz, work. I would have liked to be there for these lessons.
I go about composing like a factory worker. I punch in. I believe it's written somewhere "Steve Swallow has to sit uneasily at the piano for ten hours before receiving his next idea," so I sit there as patiently as possible. Eventually, an idea always comes, and then the rest is science.”
When it comes to jazz, Carla and Steve are my adoptive parents. They are not the best when it comes to technique, they are not the shiniest, the most sophisticated, the most innovative, they are not superstars and they are not giants. They are Carla and Steve, who are in love with jazz, with each other, with music in general and with the world in particular.
When you have 13 horns, and one is soloing, you have 12 people to play the richest, fullest chord you could ever imagine behind that solo."