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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Carla Bley


CARLA BLEY (pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader) was born in Oakland, California. An accomplished composer, Bley has assured her place among jazz greats like Ellington and Monk. Working at New York’s Birdland as a teen, she met and later married pianist Paul Bley, who encouraged her compositions. Her affinity for free jazz as well as her spare modernism saw collaborations with Gary Burton, Don Cherry and Charlie Haden and his Liberation Music Orchestra. Bley also helped organize the Jazz Composers Guild and co-lead the Jazz Composers Orchestra with her partner, trumpeter Mike Mantler with whom she co-founded the independent, artist owned record label JCOA. Along with her current partner, bassist Steve Swallow, Bley continues to record frequently with her own band and smaller groups.