In our June 2016 issue (on newsstands now), we celebrate composer Carla Bley's special day with an exclusive interview by Amy C. Beal. In the article, Bley talks about her new trio release on ECM, Andando el Tiempo, her compositional work, and what inspires her keyboard playing.
When asked how she feels about such a major event, Bley told us:
"I'm proud. I didn't ever want to acknowledge a birthday before now because it wasn't as . . . monumental. It wasn't glamorous. I think turning eighty is very glamorous. I would like to think that it would be shocking to people to know that this is what eighty is like. Except for the fact that I recently fell off a ladder and I have to use a cane, so I look a little more like eighty than I did a couple of months ago.
But, in turning eighty, I actually feel quite lucky. Just where I live makes me feel lucky. And the fact that I have a partner who forces me to write music, who constantly says if I’m not up there at the piano, he's going to get a chain and lock me to it!
What I could do if I wasn't constantly writing? I know what I would do: I would learn to be a better player. I now practice every day, but it's only for about thirty minutes; usually it's the Brahms piano exercises, which I think are so beautiful. I don't mind playing them again and again. Sometimes after I practice, I still hear them in my head. I recommend them to everyone."
And what better way to celebrate her big Eight-O than with a little champagne.
While you're listening, check out our first interview with Bley, from the February 1979 issue of Contemporary Keyboard.