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Carla Bley at Dazzle Jazz show preview 

click to enlarge Carla Bley, Sunday, March 24, 5:30 & 8 p.m., and Monday, March 25, 6:30 & 9 p.m., 1512 Curtis St., Denver, dazzledenver.com, 303/839-5100, contact venue for ticket prices and availability.
  • Carla Bley, Sunday, March 24, 5:30 & 8 p.m., and Monday, March 25, 6:30 & 9 p.m., 1512 Curtis St., Denver, dazzledenver.com, 303/839-5100, contact venue for ticket prices and availability.
If composer, arranger and pianist Carla Bley had done absolutely nothing after her three-album jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill, she still would have assured her place among the most important figures in American music. Even today, the New York-based artist’s seminal 1971 work is hailed for opening the doors of musical perception with its adventurous — yet surprisingly accessible — juxtaposition of art-rock, Indian raga, free jazz, spoken-word and electronically manipulated piano, with more than 50 performers that included Robert Wyatt, Don Cherry, Jack Bruce, Charlie Haden and, least predictably, Linda Ronstadt. “If anyone wanted to be on the album, they could be on it,” Bley told biographer Amy C. Beal. “Everybody — anyone who walked in off the street — [I told them] ‘Sure, you can be on Escalator Over the Hill.’” Fortunately for the rest of us, Bley did not stop there. She’s gone on to release dozens of albums that showcase her musical genius and generous wit, from maximalist orchestral pieces to solo and trio recordings. Bley’s Denver dates will find her at the keyboard, alongside celebrated 
collaborators Steve Swallow on bass and Andy Sheppard on saxophone, and are sure to be unforgettable.

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