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Escalator Over the Hill - A Chronotransduction By Carla Bley and Paul Haines

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Escalator Over the Hill - A Chronotransduction By Carla Bley and Paul Haines album cover
Disc 1 of 2
01
Hotel Overture
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
13:11  
02
This Is Here...
Artist: Jack Bruce, Jeanne Lee, Carla Bley, Don Cherry, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
6:02  
03
Like Animals
Artist: Don Preston, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:21  
04
Escalator Over The Hill
Artist: Viva, Carla Bley, Don Preston, Tod Papageorge, Bob Stewart, Rosalind Hupp, Karen Mantler, Bill Leonard, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
4:57  
05
Stay Awake
Artist: Viva, Carla Bley, Roswell Rudd, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:31  
06
Ginger And David
Artist: Carla Bley, Sheila Jordan, Tod Papageorge, Bob Stewart, Jane Blackstone, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:39  
07
Song To Anything That Moves
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
2:22  
08
Eoth Theme
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
0:35  
09
Businessmen
Artist: Jack Bruce, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
5:38  
10
Ginger And David Theme
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
0:57  
11
Why
Artist: Linda Ronstadt, Charlie Haden, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
2:19  
12
It's Not What You Do
Artist: Don Preston, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
0:17  
13
Detective Writer Daughter
Artist: Jack Bruce, Viva, Carla Bley, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
3:16  
14
Doctor Why
Artist: Jack Bruce, Linda Ronstadt, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:28  
15
Slow Dance (Transductory Music)
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:50  
16
Smalltown Agonist
Artist: Paul Jones, Don Preston, Bob Stewart, Jane Blackstone, Timothy Marquand, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
5:24  
Disc 2 of 2
01
End Of Head
Artist: Carla Bley, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
0:38  
02
Over Her Head
Artist: Linda Ronstadt, Carla Bley, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
2:38  
03
Little Pony Soldier
Artist: Jack Bruce, Carla Bley, Don Preston, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
4:36  
04
Oh Say Can You Do?
Artist: Carla Bley, Bill Leonard, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:11  
05
Holiday In Risk
Artist: Viva, Carla Bley, Tod Papageorge, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
3:10  
06
Holiday In Risk Theme
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
0:52  
07
A.I.R. (All India Radio)
Artist: Jazz Composer's Orchestra
3:58  
08
Rawalpindi Blues
Artist: Jack Bruce, Carla Bley, Don Cherry, Steve Ferguson, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
12:44  
09
End Of Rawalpindi
Artist: Jack Bruce, Jeanne Lee, Steve Ferguson, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
9:40  
10
End Of Animals
Artist: Don Preston, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1:26  
11
...And It's Again
Artist: Jack Bruce, Viva, Jeanne Lee, Perry Robinson, Carla Bley, Don Preston, Howard Johnson, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Bill Roughen, Jazz Composer's Orchestra
27:17  
Album Information

Total Tracks: 27   Total Length: 120:57

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A landmark

Paul.H.uk.42

EOTH is a landmark in Carla Bley's career, painstakingly assembled over years, with some pieces played by musicians who were never in the same place at the same time, but you wouldn't generally know it. The ensemble writing is characteristic Carla, although whether you like the electric band depends on your view of jazz-rock. It might be said that some of the lyrics by Paul Haines is pretentious and obscure, but for me mostly the music's tautness and inventiveness makes up for it. Whether for fresh ears all this can compensate for the technological limitations of how it was made (lots of tape dubbing) is perhaps a personal thing. I find Michael Mantler's Jazz Composers Orchestra difficult to listen to for that reason, but this survives much better. Bill Leonard appears on 2 short tracks. I guess giving him the credit is one of the quirks that make this system loveable and infuriating.

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A Controversial Recording?

SavagePopster

This recording is considered pretentious and tiresome by some who dismiss it as avant garde in the worst sense of the phrase. As AMG says above, it is messy. But, to my ears, it's a glorious, artful mess of funky jazz mixed with poetry. I have the compact disc; I tracked it down many years ago and I'm glad that I did. As has been noted elsewhere here, Carla Bley compiled a dream band for playing jazz-rock (most of whom went on to work with Kip Hanrahan--especially Jack Bruce). One thing is for certain, you owe it yourself to hear this recording even if you only hear it once. It is nearly singular in its effect. Like much great art, it doesn't really matter if everyone likes it or not.

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Broad-range innovation - but who is Bill Leonard?

AllyD

In some parallel universe, Jack's Travelling Band (McLaughlin Bruce Bley & Motian) might have been an alternative rougher path for jazz-rock. A pity the standout “Rawalpindi Blues” needs a full download, but “Businessmen” is a taster. Add in “A.I.R.”, “Why” and “Smalltown Agonist” for a feel of the range in this work if undecided about a full download. But who on earth is Bill Leonard - as it says on the cover, it's Carla Bley settings of words by Paul Haines?

They Say All Music Guide

At the time, this was probably the longest jazz-generated work in existence (its length has since been exceeded by recent pieces like Wynton Marsalis’ Blood On the Fields), a massive, messy, all-encompassing, all-star ego trip that nevertheless gave Carla Bley an immense cachet of good will among the avant-garde. Bley and librettist Paul Haines called it a “chronotransduction,” whatever that means. The critics called it a jazz opera — which it isn’t. Escalator is, however, very much of its time, a late-’60s attempt to let a thousand flowers bloom and indulge in every trendy influence that Bley could conceive. There is rock music, early synthesizer and ring modulator experiments, the obligatory Indian section, repeated outbreaks of Weimar Republic cabaret in 3/4 time that both mock and revere European tradition. The incomprehensible “libretto” and a good deal of the lugubrious writing for big band amount to a textbook of avant-garde pretension. And yet sometimes this unwieldy hash pulls itself together — the woolly, somber, sectional “Hotel Overture” with avant-squeal solos from clarinetist Perry Robinson and the young Gato Barbieri in all his Wild Bull of the Pampas glory, the clear voice of Linda Ronstadt brightening up a song called “Why,” Don Cherry’s clarion trumpet work, the power trio of John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce and Paul Motian rumbling energetically away amidst the Indian structures of “Rawalpindi Blues.” Originally released on three LPs, an almost unheard-of extravagance in 1971, today this giant relic fits comfortably on two CDs. Yet the hard-to-find LP version does have an advantage, for the work concludes with an endless windy drone via one of those locked run-out grooves, an effect that obviously cannot be transferred to a CD, which shuts off automatically. – Richard S. Ginell

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