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Escalator Over the Hill


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Performer Notes
  • ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL is a jazz/rock musical. Included with the 2 discs are complete cast personnel listings, script and black and white photographs.
  • Principal Cast: Carla Bley (Leader, Mutant, Voice, Desert Women), Jack Bruce (Jack, Parrot), Don Cherry (Sand Shepherd), Linda Ronstadt (Ginger), Jeanne Lee (Ginger II), Paul Jones (David), Don Preston (Doctor, Lion), Viva (Viva), Tod Papageorge (Cecil Clark), Charlie Haden, Steve Ferguson (His Friends), Bill Leonard (Calliope Bill).
  • Orchestra (& Hotel Lobby Band): Carla Bley (piano); Jimmy Lyons (alto saxophone); Gato Barbieri (tenor saxophone); Chris Woods (baritone saxophone); Michael Mantler, Enrico Rava (trumpet); Roswell Rudd, Sam Burtis, Jimmy Knepper (trombone); Jack Jeffers (bass trombone); Bob Carlisle, Sharon Freeman (French horn); John Buckingham (tuba); Nancy Newton (viola); Karl Berger (vibraphone); Charlie Haden (bass); Paul Motian (drums); Roger Dawson (congas); Bill Morimando (orchestra bells, celeste).
  • Jack's Traveling Band: Carla Bley (organ); John McLaughlin (guitar); Jack Bruce (bass); Paul Motian (drums).
  • Desert Band: Carla Bley (organ); Don Cherry (trumpet); Souren Baronian (clarinet); Leroy Jenkins (violin); Calo Scott (cello); Sam Brown (guitar); Ron McClure (bass); Paul Motian (dumbec).
  • Original Hotel Amateur Band: Carla Bley (piano); Michael Snow (trumpet); Michael Mantler (valve trombone); Howard Johnson (tuba); Perry Robinson, Peggy Imig (clarinet); Nancy Newton (viola); Richard Youngstein (bass); Paul Motian (drums).
  • Phantom Music: Carla Bley (organ, celeste, chimes, calliope); Michael Mantler (prepared piano); Don Preston (Moog synthesizer).
  • Engineers include: Ray Hall, Jom Crotty, Pat Martin.
  • Recorded at RCA Recording Studios, Empirical Sound and Butterfly Mobile Sound Van, New York, New York between November 1968 and June 1971.
  • This two-hour-plus opus is billed as "a chronotransduction." With music by Carla Bley and lyrics/text are by Paul Haines, the project was recorded over nearly three years (1968-1971) in several locations and with nearly a hundred people involved in one way or another (musicians, singers, speakers). Those involved included a veritable who's who of the jazz world at that time (from Don Cherry to John McLaughlin) along with such unexpected combinations of singers as Linda Ronstadt and Jack Bruce.
  • The music ranges from cabaret pieces to bits of early electronica, and from rock to elaborate post-bop large ensemble scoring. ESCALATOR is not an opera, but rather is closer to musical theater--"Holiday In Risk" is a hybrid avant-garde Broadway number, minus the stage production. All the various strains of Bley's writing are given the room they need on this two-disc set (originally released as a box set of three full-length records). The piece as a whole doesn't yield answers easily, but that hardly matters when the listening experience has been made this engaging.
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