Now 25 years into their partnership as a trio, legendary jazz musicians Carla Bley (piano), Andy Sheppard (tenor and soprano saxophones) and Steve Swallow (bass) are unleashing yet another stellar studio release for ECM Records, this one titled Life Goes On. And as life goes on, so does the great music from this trio, this latest platter recorded in Auditorio Stelio Molo Studio in Lugano in May 2019, with Manfred Eicher producing, the end result featuring three long suites. The title suite, which opens the album, is a four-part movement that starts off with some laid back blues before morphing into some sensational melodic piano trio fare, Bley's tender melodies matching up with Sheppard's sultry sax and plenty of sinewy bass lines courtesy of Swallow. The final section of this suite includes some nimble lead bass excursions and lovely sax while Bley holds down the fort underneath. Lovely stuff. The gorgeous three part "Beautiful Telephones" is hauntingly delightful, Sheppard tugging at the heart strings and soaring over some intricate piano melodies on the first part, before the trio move into more upbeat and dramatic sounds on the final two. The "Copycat" suite closes out the show here in fine fashion, Sheppard's notes of longing dripping alongside Bley's tender touch before another gentle bass solo courtesy of the master Swallow playfully glides into action, the final two movements in this closing suite becoming quite quirky and elegant, wispy sax & piano flying around each other like two children in a school playground while the bass walks and skips underneath. A really fun piece to round out the album.
It's always great to hear a recording by masterful musicians who know each other so well that it makes the overall experience for the listener all the more enjoyable. Life Goes On is a joy, plain and simple, and a wonderful jazz release here as we kick of 2020.
01 Life Goes On_ I. Life Goes On
02 Life Goes On_ II. On
03 Life Goes On_ III. And On
04 Life Goes On_ IV. And Then One Da
05 Beautiful Telephones_ I.
06 Beautiful Telephones_ II.
07 Beautiful Telephones_ III.
08 Copycat_ I. After You
09 Copycat_ II. Follow The Leader
10 Copycat_ III. Copycat