Country : United States Label : ECM Genres and styles : Jazz Year : 2020
Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard & Steve Swallow

Life Goes On

· by Steve Naud

In recent years, the jazz form has experienced a revival thanks to young wolves who have introduced hip hop rhythms and electro influences into the mix. Enough to make the more traditional post-bop of pianist Carla Bley (81), bassist Steve Swallow (79) and saxophonist Andy Sheppard (a young 63) sound like dinosaur music.

From the very first notes played by Bley, the unsuspecting listener might think they’re dealing with a creaky old blues number. Not the case! Throughout the first of the three suites on this disc, the pianist’s mischievous playing, the warm sound of Swallow’s electric bass, and Sheppard’s refined but never starchy approach, blow away anything that could be compared to dust.

The title of the second suite, “Beautiful Telephones”, alludes to a comment by Donald Trump, who was reportedly impressed by the White House telephones when he entered the building. It’s more serious in content, but there are no outbursts of anger or despair. This is one of the great qualities of the album: preferring to take things lightly, Bley and her partners never go overboard.

After a few ironic quotes from American patriotic tunes and Chopin’s Funeral March, the trio start “Copycat”, the last suite on the programme, with a gentle touch. The conversation between the three musicians is so fluid that the listener can only give it full attention, right up to the last moments of this sharp and lively record, one that shows that age is nothing more than a state of mind.

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