Útviklingssang, by Carla Bley

Carla Bley is one of my favorite jazz composers and arrangers. The Carla Bley Band records of the 70s and 80s include some of the best performances of arranged jazz ensembles. In the later part of her career Bley played in more intimate settings, performing duets with Steve Swallow and trios with Swallow and Andy Sheppard.

Social Studies is a favorite among her many great albums, featuring one of her best known compositions, Deep Tango. I picked a different tune from that album, Útviklingssang (development song in Norwegian). It was titled after Bley witnessed an Oslo protest march against the building of dams to generate more energy for Southern Norway which would adversely affect wildlife in Lapland. The sad, moving melody and the beautiful harmonies played by the wind instruments are the reasons I like this song. The use of Tuba and Euphonium in a modern jazz ensemble is unique and adds depth to the arrangement.

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  1. Great choice! Many if Carla’s songs create a visual picture as if she is painting with sounds.
    I’d love to hear this one as a sound track for a movie i can almost see the scene passing on the screen.
    Thanks for sharing the story behind tue song.

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