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Friday, November 16, 2007

Carla Bley - The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu (Watt, 2007) ***

In a mellow mood. Why not? Carla Bley has always been one of my favorite composers, and next to the unparalleled Escalator Over The Hill, I've always liked her "Songs With Legs" trio best, with Steve Swallow on bass and Andy Sheppard on sax, an album of pure musical joy. You add Bill Drummond on drums and you have the Lost Chord quartet. And this quartet has now "found" Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu, for this beautifully crafted record. Gone are the madness and the unorthodox tunes, what remains is introspective, melancholy downtempo, bluesy evening jazz, all perfectly executed, heartwarming, smooth to the ear and soothing to the soul. But then what? Is this what it all comes down to in the end? Gone are the creativity, the suprise, the compositional inventiveness, the freshness, ... But it is great jazz by great musicians, for the late hours in smoky lonely bars, when the last customers have left, and you sit there smoking your cigar with a good glass of scotch in your hands, contemplating life and the remote possibility of a slow last dance ...