Celebrated jazz pianist and composer CARLA BLEY died in New York on Tuesday October 17th. She was aged 87 and had been suffering with brain cancer.
Born Lovella May Borg in Oakland, California in 1936 , she learned piano at an early age and after relocating to New York she met jazz pianist Paul Bley at the Birdland Club where she worked selling cigarettes. Encouraged by Bley, she began touring with him as “Karen Borg”; then “Carla Borg” and finally “Carla Bley” after the couple married in 1957. They divorced in 1967 but she continued to use that name.
In a long and distinguished career, Ms Bley became an important figure in the free jazz movement and she is probably best known for her jazz “opera” ‘Escalator Over The Hill’. Her compositions have been recorded by countless jazz luminaries while, in business, she also pioneered the evolution of independent, artist-owned record labels.