Carla Bley

Heavy Heart

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In a fanciful press release for this record, Carla Bley wrote that she wanted to make a record that would "put people in a mellow, sensual mood" as opposed to getting them all riled up as usual. She must have meant some of this ironically, for while Heavy Heart is a somewhat bright, light-minded album, there are plenty of dark undercurrents to be heard. For example, take the fascinating "Light or Dark," where a light, happy texture is undercut by Hiram Bullock's intruding dissonant guitar and Kenny Kirkland's discordant comping. Or the ominously titled "Ending It," with Gary Valente's abrasive trombone dominating everyone -- or the dissonant, almost inaudible wind backings to Kirkland's big-hearted piano on "Starting Again." In any case, Bley's iconoclastic imagination and ear for unusual sonorities is definitely in gear writing for her ten-tet -- and true to her word, a number like "Talking Hearts," an alleged romantic dialogue between Bullock's smooth guitar and Bley's sly synthesizer, is saunteringly attractive stuff.

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