• Tennessee Theatre (map)
  • 601 South Gay Street
  • Knoxville, TN, 37902
  • United States

We are thrilled to be performing with legendary composer/pianist Carla Bley as part of the 2017 Big Ears Festival in downtown Knoxville. 


In the 1960s, Carla Bley made a name for herself as a jazz composer, penning tunes recorded by George Russell, Jimmy Giuffre, her ex-husband Paul Bley and others. But it was the release of her 1971 triple album Escalator Over the Hill that announced a startling unique voice to be reckoned with. Featuring three dozen musicians including Jack Bruce, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, John McLaughlin, Paul Motian and Linda Ronstadt, the jazz-rock opera is an excellent introduction to Bley’s stylistic diversity and restless creativity. 

The composer, pianist, organist and band leader has continued to produce a remarkable body of work across almost 30 albums, in small groups and as the leader of her big band, often with her husband, bassist Steve Swallow. Bley turned 80 in 2016, one year after being recognized as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her latest album,Andondo el Tiempo, is her second trio record with Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, the title track a graceful and melancholic three-part suite reflecting on addiction and recovery. Though she plays concert halls in Europe annually, Bley rarely performs in the United States. Big Ears attendees will have the fortunate opportunity to see her twice, with the larger ensemble of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and in a trio with Swallow and Sheppard.