CARLA BLEY Carla’s Christ­mas Car­ols (ECM)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

The open­ing notes of “Away in a Manger,” un­der Carla Bley’s di­rec­tion, are light and beau­ti­ful, with a hint of mi­nor-key me­lan­choly. The play­ers are Bley on pi­ano and To­bias Wei­dinger on glock­en­spiel. Wei­dinger is part of the Par­tyka Brass Quin­tet, whose mem­bers join Bley and her long­time bassist part­ner, Steve Swal­low, on this hol­i­day out­ing. “Away in a Manger” is given some weight via Adrian Mears’ limpid trom­bon­ing, and it is, over­all, a lovely and del­i­cate gem. This and 11 other car­ols rep­re­sent a long-de­sired chance for Bley (at 71 now a sig­nif­i­cant ma­tri­arch of pro­gres­sive jazz) to fo­cus on Christ­mas mu­sic. The last two songs come from a live date in Berlin; the rest were recorded in De­cem­ber 2008, at the end of that same tour. Most of th­ese are well-known car­ols, but there are two Bley songs: the swing­ing “Hell’s Bells” and her lovely, placid “Je­sus Maria,” fea­tur­ing a clar­ion trum­pet part and thought­ful so­los by Bley and Swal­low. Hu­mor abounds in “It Came Upon a Mid­night Clear,” the wah-wah’d trum­pet melody punc­tu­ated by Ed Par­tyka’s blat­ting tuba. Also here are a fas­ci­nat­ing, two-part ar­range­ment of “God Rest Ye Merry Gen­tle­men” and a rev­er­en­tial but never sac­cha­rine “O Holy Night.” Carla’s Christ­mas Car­ols is se­ri­ous and deeply quirky, a re­ward­ing trip and royal fun. — Paul Wei­de­man

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.