“Like a Mockingbird”
This introductory chapter provides a background of Carla Bley and her music. Bley is a prolific and influential American composer. And though her career, which began in the 1950s, has taken place largely within the venues and institutions of the jazz world, her music is often characterized as Third Stream, postmodernist, or just plain experimental—these labels due in part to her ability to write conventional big-band charts as well as classically influenced chamber works. Her compositions fall into a number of overlapping categories: lead sheets and short jazz tunes designed for improvising, completely notated and orchestrated chamber music, big-band ensemble parts, and larger works containing multiple connected parts. Indeed, her oeuvre offers a staggering amount of variety, and for the most part, her compositional style is impossible to classify.
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