Carla Bley: One Banana
Carla Bley (piano)
The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu (WATT 34)
Carla Bley (piano),
Paolo Fresu (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andy Sheppard (soprano & tenor saxes), Steve Swallow (bass), Billy Drummond (drums).
Composed by Carla Bley.
Recorded: Pernes Les Fontaines, France, May 19-20, 2007
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
With Carla Bley tunes, it's always about cleverly constructed compositions, and "One Banana" is no exception. She uses melancholy notes to weave a beautiful ballad built with three distinct phrases in succession, each one compelling and elegant in its own way.
Fresu keynotes the first two lines, the initial one actually serving as a brief intro theme that serves as a back and forth conversation between the trumpeter and Bley, Sheppard and Swallow. It transitions seamlessly into the second sequence of notes. Fresu's tone here is lonely, pitch-perfect and deeply felt, the consummate fit for the song's somber mood.
The last piece begins after a brief pause. This five-chord line, slightly brighter than the prior two, is led by Swallow's idiosyncratic electric bass. Here, he manages to match the richly lyrical content of Fresu's preceding solo. Playing sensitively in the upper register, Swallow makes his bass guitar sing in the manner that a person would. The horn section gradually reenters, providing a supporting line in harmony with Swallow's thematic line that heralds the end of the song.
Perfectly conceived and executed, "One Banana" is one of Bley's very best.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron
Tags: 2000s jazz