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Big Band Theory


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Audio CD, February 15, 1994
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$49.90 $16.99

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 15, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ecm Records
  • ASIN: B000003211
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,476 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. On The Stage In Cages
2. Birds Of Paradise
3. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
4. Fresh Impression

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Carla Bley has worked with all sorts of ensembles, but she's always been stellar when leading a big band. BIG BAND THEORY is a joy, from the highly amusing tempo shifts in "On The Stages In Cages" to the great reading of Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." Soloists here get their moments in the sun, including longtime Bley mainstay trombonist Gary Valente, who always seems to have a wry tone in his playing which is very engaging. This is one of Carla Bley's best albums from a body of work of which any musician could be proud.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steward Willons TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 16, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Carla Bley is one of the most consistently amazing jazz composers around and "Big Band Theory" shows just why. While it's not her best or most essential album, it's firmly in the second tier of her work. I think of albums such as "Goes to Church", "Fleur Carnivour", and a couple others as her masterpieces, while albums such as this are close seconds.

Things get off to an energetic start with the lively and unpredictable "On the Stage in Cages", which I would place amongst her absolute finest work. Along the way, we hear amazing solos from her big band including Gary Valente, Wolfgang Puschnig, and Lew Soloff. However, the thing that I love about this and all of Bley's extended compositions is that the solos are integrated into various stages of a larger composition with actual development happening. Puschnig solos over one section, then the piece moves in a different direction and Soloff takes a few "choruses" before moving on to yet another area of the composition for Gary Valente. Here, I'm speaking in general terms. I don't recall if the first selection follows this form exactly, but in general, her pieces are sectional with different solos in the various sections as opposed to the more traditional back-to-back configuration.

"Birds of Paradise" is beautiful, if not quite as engaging as "On the Stage in Cages". It develops along the same lines with thematic material that develops over the course of the work's twenty minute duration.

On "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", Bley shows off her skills as an arranger and Valente proves once again that he's one of the gutsiest trombonists around. He is featured across the whole song and gets a lot of room to stretch out. His performance is nothing short of incredible. If this review sounds like a rave, it's not - it's just that good.

"Big Band Theory" is essential listening to all Carla Bley fans. It's worth the price for the first and third tracks alone. The rest are just a bonus.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Uhhh...it's Carla Bley. Great musicians, intelligent compositions. Once, especially early in her career, a very avant garde composer, yet tight enough to wow listeners, she has remained innovative and fresh. She's the Ida Lupino of jazz.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is great big band..... contemporary, exciting, well written and performed, one of my favorites, If your a trombone guy, you'll dig this album.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wesley S. on May 21, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I wish she would get another trombonist. I GUESS i NEED TO LISTEN AGAIN AND GIVE IT A CHANCE. Smeh.
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