ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]




Click on the panels to download artwork

Carla Bley
Escalator Over The Hill: Live 1997 [no label, 2CD]
Live at Musiktriennale, Koln, Germany, June 7, 1997.

Originally released as a triple vinyl box set in 1972, Escalator Over the Hill was seen as a jazz opera or Frank Zappa's avant rock meets free jazz. But it's not an opera in the sense that there isn't a straight story. Poet/filmmaker Paul Haines later explained it as "guided time travel." Written by Haines while he was in India, the lyrics reveal an exotic absurdity which jazz composer/pianist Carla Bley married to various musical forms including jazz, pop, Broadway, avant-garde and world music.

The album's origins apparently started after Bley heard The Beatles' Sgt Peppers in 1967. She wrote to her friend Paul Haines, then in India, with the idea of doing an experimental work that on hindsight married the free jazz Bley was then immersed in with the psychedelic experiments the Beatles were trending into. The writing started in 1967 and formally ended when Bley entered a studio in November 1968. Bley assembled a cast of between 50 to 90 musicians and recorded Escalator over the years finally finishing the entire album in June 1971. The sessions almost bankrupted her's and her then husband Michael Mantler's self-owned record label, the Jazz Composer's Association, putting them in debt to the tune of $90,000. The cast for Escalator was mainly drawn from Bley and Mantler's Jazz Composer's Association, a loose network of jazz improvisers that is akin to today's music collectives.

Daunted by the magnitude of the production, Bley had never been keen to perform it live until she was begged to bring it on tour for the 300th anniversary of the city of Cologne in 1997. This FM broadcast features a scaled-down group (from 90 to 23) that includes Linda Sharrock, Steve Swallow, Syd Straw, Karen Mantler, Wolfgang Puschnig, Ramesh Shotam and others.

Haines has said "escalator" was an extrapolation of an overused word from the late '60s, "to escalate", referring to the way the Vietnam War expanded out of proportion to what the original US intervention was meant to solve. "I was living in New Delhi, and I sent the words out to Carla to work on. They describe sensations. Not ideas, sensations." To this day, Escalator Over The Hill remains a milestone for its scope in size and expansiveness of style.

Within the mass of tunes and songs, there is a darkness to The Beatles' light. In the ballad "Ginger And David" is a particular lyric almost forgotten: 

"A sickman she'd sought for the night/ To fuck her to sleep"

In 2006, what kind of "escalation" is that?

- The Little Chicken

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at mybigo@bigozine.com if you want to download these tracks at a later time.

 
Disc 1
Track 01 This Is Here... (5:00) (6.8MB)
Track 02 Like Animals (1:29) (2.0MB)
Track 03 Escalator Over The Hill (5:04) (6.9MB)
Track 04
Stay Awake (1:29) (2.0MB)
Track 05 Ginger And David (1:50) (2.5MB)
Track 06 Song To Anything That Moves (2:31) (3.4MB)
Track 07 Eoth Theme (0:36) (838k)
Track 08 Businessmen (3:05) (4.2MB)
Track 09 Ginger And David Theme (1:03) (1.4MB)
Track 10 Why (2:58) (4.0MB)
Track 11 Detective Writer Daughter (3:38) (4.9MB)
Track 12
Doctor Why (1:20) (2.0MB)
Track 13 Slow Dance (1:46) (2.4MB)
Track 14 Smalltown Agonist (6:32) (8.9MB)
Track 15 End Of Head (0:48) (1.1MB)
Track 16 Over Her Head (2:47) (3.8MB)
Track 17 Little Pony Soldier (5:54) (8.1MB)
Track 18 Oh Say Can You Do? (1:17) (1.7MB)
Track 19 Holiday In Risk (3:17) (4.5MB)
Track 20 H.I.R. Theme (1:53) (2.5MB)
 
Disc 2
Track 01 A.I.R. [All India Radio] (7:40) (10.5MB)
Track 02 Rawalpindi Blues (16:20) (22.4MB)
Track 03 End Of Rawalpindi (7:13) (9.9MB)
Track 04 End Of Animals (1:38) (2.2MB)
Track 05 ...And It's Again (11:20) (15.5MB)

A word of thanks to the person who uploaded this on a torrent site some time ago.

Click on the link to order Carla Bley's Escalator On The Hill album.





For more... email mybigo@bigozine.com with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."


 









 
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