and 703. while also continuing to expand the activities of the JCOA. In 1975. following a stint on the road as pianist with The Jack Bruce Band. she decided to put together her own group for the first time in her career. although she confesses that it remains an ambivalent pleasure.

‘I had great fun playing with Jack on the road. and when that broke up I just decided it was time to take my own band out. I still find it fun with the Big Band. but not so much with small groups. because I can have a nervous breakdown being on stage. Even my Sextet felt very naked. so it‘s real brave of me to work in a trio! With the Big Band I don‘t care at all. because I can hide in the back row. and don't have to take solos. I just stand up there and wave my hands.‘

Two key Bley projects date from the late 605. the excellent (but hard to find) collaboration with Gary Burton on A Genuine Tong Funeral (RCA). and the massive song cycle Escalator Over The Hill (JCOA). now on CD for the first time. which she admits ‘just grew and grew’.

Trying something new has always

been second nature to Carla. and has often flown in the face of fashion and accepted wisdom. In the 805. for example. she put together a Sextet with no horns at all. but with a completely clear sense ofpurpose in her own mind.

‘The Sextet with no horns wasn‘t so much a loss of interest in horns as an attempt to discover more about the rhythm section. because I realised that I had spent so much time writing for horns that I had neglected the rest ofthe band. and didn't really know very much about it. I spent that time going all the way down to the base of the music. and as a consequence I know a lot more about the rhythm section now.‘

Following a long stint with her Sextet. she returned to horns with a vengeance in the Big Band which recorded one of her best records. Fleur Carnivore (Watt). in 1989. That project was followed by an even more ambitious effort. the Very Big Band with which she made her Scottish debut in Aberdeen last year. and which is featured on the new Watt CD The Very Big Carla Bley

The eccentric Ms Bley Band. a studio recording made during the tour. ‘It is actually more like writing for a conventional big band.’ she says. ‘because ofall those extra horns.‘

For her current project. though. Bley has gone back to the small group format which made her so nervous in the past. She has worked in a duo with bassman Steve Swallow (who is also her off-stage partner) in the past. and they have added saxophonist Andy Sheppard to what promises to be an exciting amalgam ofstylistic approaches to the music.

Sheppard is not exactly a stranger to them. He was a member of both versions of the Big Band. wrote a tune called ‘Carla'. Carla. Carla. Carla‘ dedicated to her (it’s on the Soft ()n The Inside recording). and Steve Swallow has been producer on each of Andy’s albums for Antilles. including the one due out in the autumn featuring his ln-(‘ommotion group.

Carla Bley. Steve Swallow. xlmly Sheppard play a! The Queen '5 Hall on Friday 31.



and ask for them by name. To save Miss Selfridge's reputation. we suggest they bring out a range for those with more esoteric tastes. How about Plum Ra or Ivory Cutler. for instance‘.’

I Who wasthaisuperstar saxophonist sitting in with the virtually unknown Edinburgh group Better Ways at the Film Festival

I closing gala party‘.’ None j other than Candy Dulfer. l who can name her price in the musos‘s bear-pit that is the session arena. It seems Dulfer was in town with

her husband. described by our informant as ‘a visiting thesp'. for the cultural jamboree. psyching

herself up. perhaps. for

j her gigat Edinburgh

I. Castle with Van

Morrison. The Better Ways set wasn’t the spontaneous stage

invasion that myth-makers would like. Dulfer was given a tape a week before the shindig. and liked it enough to sit in for four or five songs.

' I Not in quite enoughtlme

for the listings comes news

that. commencing at 7pm.

3 famous fresh-air

' enthusiasts Big Country

will be playing a set—

possibly lasting up to an


Tower Records in Argyle

Street. Glasgow on Sat 20.

Staggeringly enough. they

7 have a new album coming

out as well. Funnythat.

I More news trom Tower:

not ones to turn uptheir

noses at a bit of

hard-rockin‘ hysteria. the

Argyle Street record store

wille openingat

; midnighton Sun 15(that's

the wee small hours of

Mon 16. calendar- l

; watchers) so that theycan '

flog copies oquns

'N‘Roses' new Ll’(s) Use

Yoiirlllusion (I and II) from the very minute they ;

goon sale. Similar events

have proved successful

and newsworthy around

the country. for releases

like Rattle Ami Hum and

Spike. For the latter. Elvis

Costello himself busked

songs from the album for

the queue outside. There

has been no confirmation.

though. that Axl Rose w ill

be on hand to abuse

potential customers with

baseball bats and bottles I

ofJack Daniels.

The List 30 August 12 September 199133