Escalator over the Hill

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Escalator Over the Hill
Studio album by Carla Bley and Paul Haines
Released 1971
Recorded 1968–1971
Genre Avant-garde jazz, post-bop, folk opera
Label JCOA Records (LP)
WATT (CD)
Producer Michael Mantler
Jazz Composer's Orchestra chronology
The Jazz Composer's Orchestra
(1968)
Escalator Over the Hill
(1971)
Relativity Suite
(1973)
Carla Bley chronology
Jazz Realities
(1966)
Escalator Over the Hill
(1971)
Tropic Appetites
(1974)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
All About Jazz (favorable)[1]
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
Stylus (favorable)[3]

Escalator Over the Hill (or EOTH) is mostly referred to as a jazz opera, but it was released as a "chronotransduction" with "words by Paul Haines, adaptation and music by Carla Bley, production and coordination by Michael Mantler", performed by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra.

History[edit]

Escalator Over the Hill is more than two hours long and was recorded over three years (1968 to 1971). It was originally released as a triple LP box which also contained a booklet with lyrics, photos and profiles of the musicians. Side six of the original LPs ended in a locked groove, the final track "...And It's Again" continuing infinitely on manual record players. (For the CD reissue, the hum is allowed to play for almost 20 minutes before slowly fading out.)

In 1997, a live version of Escalator Over the Hill, re-orchestrated by Jeff Friedman, was performed for the first time in Cologne, Germany. In 1998, "Escalator" toured Europe. Another live performance took place in May 2006 in Essen, Germany.

The musicians involved in the original recording play in various combinations, covering a wide range of musical genres, from Kurt Weill's theater music, to free jazz, rock and Indian music. Writer Stuart Broomer considers this to be a summing up "much of the creative energy that was loose between 1968 and 1972".[4]

Viva acts as narrator. Jack Bruce also appears on bass and vocals (due to the album's long production, he also appeared on Frank Zappa's album Apostrophe, playing bass on the title track). Among the vocalists is a young (and still relatively unknown) Linda Ronstadt, in addition to Jeanne Lee, Paul Jones, Carla Bley, Don Preston, Sheila Jordan, and Bley's and Mantler's then-4-year-old daughter Karen Mantler.

In 2006, Paul Haines' daughter, Canadian musician Emily Haines, adapted the Escalator Over the Hill cover art for her own first widely distributed album under her own name, Knives Don't Have Your Back.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  1. "Hotel Overture"– 13:11
Side two
  1. "This Is Here..." – 6:02
  2. "Like Animals" – 1:21
  3. "Escalator Over the Hill" – 4:57
  4. "Stay Awake" – 1:31
  5. "Ginger and David" – 1:39
  6. "Song to Anything That Moves" – 2:22
Side three
  1. "Eoth Theme" – 0:35
  2. "Businessmen" – 5:38
  3. "Ginger and David Theme" – 0:57
  4. "Why" – 2:19
  5. "It's Not What You Do" – 0:17
  6. "Detective Writer Daughter" – 3:16
  7. "Doctor Why" – 1:28
  8. "Slow Dance (Transductory Music)" – 1:50
  9. "Smalltown Agonist" – 5:24
Side four
  1. "End of Head" – 0:38
  2. "Over Her Head" – 2:38
  3. "Little Pony Soldier" – 4:36
  4. "Oh Say Can You Do?" – 1:11
  5. "Holiday in Risk" – 3:10
  6. "Holiday in Risk Theme" – 0:52
Side five
  1. "A.I.R. (All India Radio)" – 3:58
  2. "Rawalpindi Blues" – 12:44
Side six
  1. "End of Rawalpindi" – 9:40
  2. "End of Animals" – 1:26
  3. "... And It's Again" – 9:55
  • "... And It's Again" would later be expanded to a length of 27:17 for CD release, with 17:23 minutes of the humming sound found on the inner groove of the LP.

Personnel[edit]

Principal Cast
Jane Blackstone, Carla Bley, Jonathan Cott, Sharon Freeman, Steve Gebhardt, Tyrus Gerlach, Eileen Hale, Rosalind Hupp, Jack Jeffers, Howard Johnson, Sheila Jordan, Michael Mantler, Timothy Marquand, Nancy Newton, Tod Papageorge, Don Preston, Bill Roughen, Phyllis Schneider, Bob Stewart, Pat Stewart, Viva
Musicians (alphabetical)
Musicians (chronotransductional)
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 Baronia (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)

Awards[edit]

  • Jazz Album of the Year 1972 by a Melody Maker Readers Poll
  • French Grand Prix du Disque in 1973

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacLaren, Trevor (2011). "Carla Bley and Paul Haines: Escalator Over the Hill". allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Ginell, Richard S. (2011). "Escalator Over the Hill - Carla Bley | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Carlin, Marcello (2011). "Stranded: Escalator Over the Hill - Article - Stylus Magazine". stylusmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Stuart Broomer. Escalator Over the Hill. Editorial review at amazon.com, retrieved on 2008-09-23

External links[edit]