Elements of vaudevillian silliness show up on many Carla Bley albums, but usually as grace notes within compositions that are known for their musical strength and density. I Hate to Sing is a notable exception -- here the airy, goofy tone seems to be the only thing holding the album together. Fans of the Carla Bley Band will appreciate the group's jovial performance and loose, swinging style, but this is little more than a novelty album. Not until the final track "Battleship" does the band really stretch itself musically; by then the preceding jokey, toneless vocals and open, pendular riffs have set the mood to such an extent that the listener is almost stunned by the contrasting non-fluffiness. Many of the elements here are also found on the considerably more dense and thoughtful album Tropic Appetites from a decade earlier. Tropic Appetites is preferable to I Hate to Sing for those seeking a more artful combination of compositional strength and humor.
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AllMusic Review by Stacia Proefrock