Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Helge Lien Trio and Tore Brunborg, Funeral Dance, Ozella ****

Dipping into 'Adam' at the beginning of Funeral Dance the latest from the remarkable Helge Lien Trio you feel you are late in arriving because already the rich tone of Tore Brunborg - a little like the way Andy Sheppard can play - has established …

Published: 19 Oct 2023. Updated: 9 months.

Dipping into 'Adam' at the beginning of Funeral Dance the latest from the remarkable Helge Lien Trio you feel you are late in arriving because already the rich tone of Tore Brunborg - a little like the way Andy Sheppard can play - has established an extraordinary atmosphere that the trio then work their magic with when he drops out. Bassist Johannes Eick and drummer Knut Aalefjær again join their fellow Norwegian pianist Helge Lien in what is certainly one of the top European jazz releases of the year. You gain a lot of weight practically anywhere you listen from a band who while deeply serious in approach never alienate the listener. Eick's riff on 'A Wonderful Selection of Gloomy Keys' (great title - and not really that gloomy at all) is one of the many pleasures here shaped and contoured so evocatively by Lien especially on his lustrous opening to 'The Silver Pine'.

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Carla Bley has died aged 87

The death at 87 has been reported in the United States of jazz composer and pianist Carla Bley, one of the most influential players and writers of her time. Bley died at home in New York State following complications due to brain cancer. Her …

Published: 18 Oct 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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The death at 87 has been reported in the United States of jazz composer and pianist Carla Bley, one of the most influential players and writers of her time. Bley died at home in New York State following complications due to brain cancer. Her partner bassist Steve Swallow confirmed her passing. Bley's significant contribution to jazz of the last 60 years includes being the original conductor and arranger of the Liberation Music Orchestra and for her 1971 jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill. Her compositions include the much covered 'Lawns' and she also ran her own record labels including the ECM-distributed Watt. Bley won a Guggenheim for composition in 1972 and became an NEA Jazz Master eight years ago. Her final album, Life Goes On, a collaboration with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow, was released in 2020. We wrote at the time how Bley's vastly influential sound tunnels back to the deep jazz past and yet she still has one foot in the present given how adept she is at delivering a sense of abstract contemplation that is very now and unsoiled by oversentimentality. Bley was born in California and moved to New York in the 1950s working as a cigarette girl in Birdland and marrying pianist Paul Bley - following divorce she also later married trumpeter Michael Mantler with whom she had a daughter Karen, also a musician.