Radical originality, essential eccentricity
Carla Bley was just a teenager when she headed for the wild New York jazz scene of the 1950s. Through early gigs as a cigarette girl at Birdland and coat-check attendant at the Jazz Gallery, Bley frequently heard the likes of Count Basie and Thelonious Monk—two icons who would impact her life as a prolific composer and pianist. Fast forward through a career spanning more than 60 years and hundreds of scores, and Bley continues to be a progressive voice. On May 31, the NEA Jazz Master brings her wit and uncompromising spirit to the Cistern Yard for her Festival debut. Together with longtime collaborators Steve Swallow (bass) and Andy Sheppard (saxophone), the trio will perform beloved works and new compositions from their recent release, Andando el Tiempo.