Reactionary Tango – 1980s

Carla Bley


A three-part work rom the colorful composer

Click here to Support Jazz on the Tube

Carla Bley has been heard in many settings throughout her career as a composer and pianist, from duets with bassist Steve Swallow to leading her own big band.

One of the best vehicles for Bley’s music was the ten-piece group that she led in the early 1980s.

She performs the three-part “Reactionary Tango” (which can serve as a contrast to Astor Piazzolla’s revolutionary type of tango) with a group consisting of trumpeter Mike Mantler, trombonist Gary Valente, Vincent Chancey on French horn, soprano-saxophonist Steve Slagle, tenor-saxophonist Tony Dagradi, Earl McIntyre on tuba, organist-conductor Arturo O’Farrill, electric bassist Steve Swallow (who opens and closes the work), and drummer D. Sharpe.

Nearly every musician gets a short solo along the way but it is the hypnotic basslines of Swallow and the sound of the unique ensemble (along with Bley’s writing) that take honors.

-Scott Yanow


Click here to Support Jazz on the Tube