Carla Bley on Composing

ON COMPOSING [1:29]

RUFFIN: NOW, A JAZZ MOMENT 

One way under, throughout

BLEY: It’s a habit. I do it every day unless I’m on the road.

CARLA BLEY IS ONE OF THE most prolific jazz COMPOSERS WORKING TODAY. SHE’S WRITTEN FOR BIG BANDS, CHOIRS, CHAMBER ORCHESTRAS, YOU NAME IT. HER secret? dedication.  

BLEY: I
start right after breakfast before I even get dressed or bathe. I just
go with my cup of coffee up to the desk, and I start working right away.
And then maybe take a break. A couple hours later. Switch to tea. Take a
bath. Get dressed. By that time it’s almost mid-day, but I’ve got the
mornings work done. It might even be like writing a book. You often
listen to writers talk about, they feel they have to turn out 500 words a
day. They just go to their desk until they have 500 words. I don’t let
it go. I grab the tune by the horns and just work on it all morning.
It’s no such thing as I’m not inspired or I don’t feel like it. That’s
the absolute strangest thing that I could ever say. I’m not really into
it or something like that. I just do it and that’s that.

THIS JAZZ MOMENT WITH 2015 NEA JAZZ MASTER CARLA BLEY WAS PRODUCED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.

Excerpt
of “One Way” composed and performed by Carla Bley from the album The
Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church, used courtesy of …

Carla Bley on Composing