Escalator Over the Hill

Escalator Over the Hill

by Paul Haines

Quick, name another album that features Don Cherry, Jack Bruce, Paul Motian, Gato Barbieri, John McLaughlin, Charlie Haden, and Linda Ronstadt. Escalator Over The Hill, composer and arranger Carla Bley's epic "chronotransduction," is one of the greatSee more details below


Quick, name another album that features Don Cherry, Jack Bruce, Paul Motian, Gato Barbieri, John McLaughlin, Charlie Haden, and Linda Ronstadt. Escalator Over The Hill, composer and arranger Carla Bley's epic "chronotransduction," is one of the great everything-and-the-kitchen-sink projects to fall into the jazz tradition. Collaborating with the poet Paul Haines, whose impenetrable Dadaesque lyrics are basically as informative as the designation "chronotransduction," Bley concocts a deliberately skewed, over-the-top, and always fascinating opera-of-sorts that mixes Kurt Weill-influenced orchestrations with free jazz, pop, electronic music, fusion, world music exotica, and a host of other eclectic styles. Forget about coherent narrative (Bley and Haines certainly did) and concentrate on the music. From the furious McLaughlin-Bruce-Bley-Motian jam, "Rawalpindi Blues," to the delightful vocal duet between Haden and Ronstadt, "Why," and a hundred slanted moments in between, Escalator Over The Hill, is chock filled with surprise and wonder.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
At the time, this was probably the longest jazz-generated work in existence (its length has since been exceeded by recent pieces like Wynton Marsalis' Blood On the Fields), a massive, messy, all-encompassing, all-star ego trip that nevertheless gave Carla Bley an immense cachet of good will among the avant-garde. Bley and librettist Paul Haines called it a "chronotransduction," whatever that means. The critics called it a jazz opera -- which it isn't. Escalator is, however, very much of its time, a late-'60s attempt to let a thousand flowers bloom and indulge in every trendy influence that Bley could conceive. There is rock music, early synthesizer and ring modulator experiments, the obligatory Indian section, repeated outbreaks of Weimar Republic cabaret in 3/4 time that both mock and revere European tradition. The incomprehensible "libretto" and a good deal of the lugubrious writing for big band amount to a textbook of avant-garde pretension. And yet sometimes this unwieldy hash pulls itself together -- the woolly, somber, sectional "Hotel Overture" with avant-squeal solos from clarinetist Perry Robinson and the young Gato Barbieri in all his Wild Bull of the Pampas glory, the clear voice of Linda Ronstadt brightening up a song called "Why," Don Cherry's clarion trumpet work, the power trio of John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce and Paul Motian rumbling energetically away amidst the Indian structures of "Rawalpindi Blues." Originally released on three LPs, an almost unheard-of extravagance in 1971, today this giant relic fits comfortably on two CDs. Yet the hard-to-find LP version does have an advantage, for the work concludes with an endless windy drone via one of those locked run-out grooves, an effect that obviously cannot be transferred to a CD, which shuts off automatically.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Ecm Import

Related Subjects


Disc 1

  1. Hotel Overture  - Carla Bley
  2. This Is Here....  - Carla Bley
  3. Like Animals  - Carla Bley
  4. Escalator over the Hill  - Carla Bley
  5. Stay Awake  - Carla Bley
  6. Ginger and David  - Carla Bley
  7. Song to Anything That Moves  - Carla Bley
  8. Eoth Theme  - Carla Bley
  9. Businessmen  - Carla Bley
  10. Ginger and David Theme  - Carla Bley
  11. Why  - Carla Bley
  12. It's Not What You Do  - Carla Bley
  13. Detective Writer Daughter  - Carla Bley
  14. Doctor Why  - Carla Bley
  15. Slow Dance  - Carla Bley
  16. Smalltown Agonist  - Carla Bley

Disc 2

  1. End of Head  - Carla Bley
  2. Over Her Head  - Carla Bley
  3. Little Pony Soldier  - Carla Bley
  4. Oh Say Can You Do?  - Carla Bley
  5. Holiday in Risk  - Carla Bley
  6. Holiday in Risk Theme  - Carla Bley
  7. A.I.R.  - Carla Bley
  8. Rawalpindi Blues  - Carla Bley
  9. End of Rawalpindi  - Carla Bley
  10. End of Animals  - Carla Bley
  11. ...And It's Again  - Carla Bley

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paul Haines   Primary Artist,Track Performer
Jack Bruce   Bass,Vocals
Linda Ronstadt   Vocals
Gato Barbieri   Saxophone
Carla Bley   Keyboards,Vocals,Track Performer
Don Cherry   Percussion,Trumpet
Karen Mantler   Guitar,Vocals
Michael Mantler   Piano,Trumpet
John McLaughlin   Guitar
Perry Robinson   Clarinet
Roswell Rudd   Trombone,Vocals
Bob Stewart   Tuba,Vocals
Don Preston   Synthesizer
Charlie Haden   Bass,Vocals
Paul Jones   Vocals
Paul Motian   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Jack Bruce   Contributor
Linda Ronstadt   Contributor
Gato Barbieri   Contributor
Carla Bley   Arranger,Producer,Orchestration,Adaptation
Don Cherry   Contributor
Michael Mantler   Producer
John McLaughlin   Contributor
Roswell Rudd   Contributor
Don Preston   Contributor
Viva   Contributor
Dick Baxter   Engineer
Jim Crotty   Engineer
Paul Goodman   Engineer
Charlie Haden   Contributor
Ray Hall   Engineer
Paul Jones   Contributor
Jeanne Lee   Contributor
Gus Mossler   Engineer
Paul Motian   Contributor
Robert Fries   Engineer
Dave Jones   Engineer
Pat Martin   Engineer
Paul McDonough   Artwork,Layout Concept
Karl Sjodahl   Engineer
Wes Wickemeyer   Engineer
Tom Brown   Engineer

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