Around Again is an album of Carla Bley music, performed by two Finns and an American. Given Bley’s towering stature as a composer, it is surprising that there have not been more complete albums dedicated to her work. (The most cited is Closer, from 1966, by Carla’s ex-husband Paul Bley. The best is Dreams So Real, from 1976, by Gary Burton.)
Bley’s mysterious melodies linger in the mind. Pianist Iro Haarla plays them with a respect that stops short of reverence because, in keeping with Bley’s own whimsical aesthetic, she is free with them. Haarla marks out Bley’s forms with a focus both meticulous and passionate, then wanders apart from them, as Bley’s haunting reveries inspire her own.