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Famous Like Me > Composer > B > Carla Bley

Profile of Carla Bley on Famous Like Me

Name: Carla Bley  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 11th May 1938
Place of Birth: Oakland, California, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Carla Bley, née Borg, (born May 11, 1938 in Oakland, California) is an American jazz composer, pianist and band leader.

An important figure in the Free Jazz movement of the 1960s, she is perhaps best known for her jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill (released as a triple LP set), as well as a book of compositions that have been performed by many other artists, including Gary Burton, Jimmy Giuffre, George Russell, Art Farmer and her ex-husband Paul Bley.

Her father, a piano teacher and church choirmaster, encouraged her to sing and to learn to play the piano. After giving up the church to immerse herself in roller skating at the age of fourteen, she moved to New York at seventeen and became a cigarette girl at Birdland, where she met jazz pianist Bley, whom she married in 1957. He encouraged her to start composing. The two later divorced.

She then had a personal and professional relationship with Michael Mantler, with whom she had a daughter, Karen, now also a musician in her own right. Carla Bley co-led the Jazz Composers' Orchestra with Michael Mantler.

With Mantler, she started the JCOA record label which issued a number of historic recordings by Clifford Thorton, Don Cherry and Roswell Rudd, as well as her own Escalator Over The Hill and Mantler's Jazz Composer's Orchestra LPs. Bley and Mantler followed with WATT records which has issued their recordings exclusively from the early-1970s onward. Bley and Mantler were pioneers in the development of independent artist-owned record labels and also started the now defunct New Music Distribution Service which specialized in small, independed lables that issued recordings of creative improvised music.

She has collaborated with a number of other artists, including Robert Wyatt and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, whose 1981 solo album Fictitious Sports was a Carla Bley album in all but name. She arranged and composed music for Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, and wrote A Genuine Tong Funeral for Gary Burton. Her arrangement of the music for Federico Fellini's appeared on Hal Willner's Nino Rota tribute record, Amarcord Nino Rota.

Carla Bley has continued to record frequently with her own big band and a number of smaller ensembles. Her partner, the bassist Steve Swallow, has been her closest and most consistant musical associate in recent years.

In 2005 she arrainged the music for and performed on Charlie Haden's latest Liberation Music Orchestra recording, Not In Our Name.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Carla Bley