Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow – Andando el Tiempo (2016) [Qobuz 24-96]

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow – Andando el Tiempo (2016) 
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 47:16 minutes | 785 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © ECM
Recorded: Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano, November 2015

Andando el Tiempo features new music of wide emotional compass by Carla Bley, and underlines her originality and resourcefulness as a jazz composer. “Saints Alive!” sets up animated conversations between the participants with striking statements from Steve Swallow’s bass guitar and Andy Sheppard’s soprano sax. The stately “Naked Bridges/Diving Brides” draws inspiration from Mendelssohn and the poetry of Paul Haines. And the powerful three part title composition – which addresses the trials and tribulations of recovery from addiction – moves through sorrow to hopefulness and joy. The trio with Sheppard and Swallow has been an ideal vehicle for Carla’s writing for more than 20 years and also provides one of the best contexts for her unique piano playing. Like the critically lauded ECM album Trios (2012), Andando el Tiempo was recorded at Lugano’s RSI Studio and produced by Manfred Eicher.

For over 20 years, the trio of pianist Carla Bley, bassist Steve Swallow, and saxophonist Andy Sheppard have shared each other’s creative company. The group’s 2016 album, Andando el Tiempo, is a delicately passionate, classically influenced set. A follow-up to 2013’s equally compelling Trios, Andando el Tiempo is, surprisingly, only the third album from the group after their initial live 1995 album Songs with Legs. Whereas on Trios they delved into various Bley compositions from throughout her career, on Andando el Tiempo they focus on several more recently penned works. “Naked Bridges/Diving Bridges” brings to mind the impressionism of composer Claude Debussy. It’s fascinating to hear the trio move from the moody beginning of the song into the more breezy, straight-ahead mid-section where Swallow, playing fluidly on the upper end of his bass, evinces the lyricism of West Coast trumpeter Chet Baker. The West Coast vibe is also palpable on the ruminative, noir-ish “Saints Alive!” However, it’s the title track composition “Andando el Tiempo” that takes center stage on the album. With its three movements meant to represent three of the steps to addiction recovery, “Andando el Tiempo” (meaning “with the passing of time”) is a restrained, yet nuanced piece that balances the group’s knack for tempered chamber work and fluid, in-the-moment improvisation. Anchored at all times by Bley’s measured, atmospheric piano, Sheppard and Swallow take turns dancing in the spotlight. The final movement in particular, the Latin-tinged “Camino al Volver,” provides plenty of space for each member of the trio to twirl around each other in focused reverie. Ultimately, it’s that shared intensity, born out of the trio’s decades-long partnership, that makes Andando el Tiempo such an engaging listen. ~~ AllMusic Review by Matt Collar

Tracklist:
Carla Bley (b.1936)
Andando el Tiempo
1. Sin Fin 10:21
2. Potación de Guaya 09:48
3. Camino al Volver 08:27
4. Saints Alive! 08:35
5. Naked Bridges / Diving Brides 10:05

Personnel:
Carla Bley, piano
Andy Sheppard, tenor and soprano saxophones
Steve Swallow, bass

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