Escalator Over The Hill - A Film By Steve Gebhardt

Liner notes:

When it was released in 1971, Carla Bley's monumental jazz opera with lyrics by poet, Paul Haines, was hailed as a masterpiece. It was voted jazz album of the year 1972 by a Melody Maker reader's poll and won the 1973 French Oscar du meilleur disque de jazz moderne.

This complex and ambitious film took almost 30 years to produce and final made its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in August 1999. These seminal live performances were captured by filmmaker Steve Gebhardt in 1970-71, during Escalator's original recording sessions.

Many of the performers at the time were living legends of their musical form and included Jack Bruce (a year after Cream disbanded); trumpeter, Don Cherry; Don Preston (Mothers Of Invention) as well as Gato Barbieri, Charlie Haden, Sheila Jordan, John McLaughlin, Howard Johnson, Jeanne Lee, Viva (a Warhol superstar) and guitarist, Sam Brown.

Gebhardt had complete control over what and how he filmed these sessions and was able to place lights and camera in such a manner as to realize the best visuals. This 83 min film will give music lovers of all genres an illuminating glimpse into the creative process at work. This is an unprecedented opportunity to see how this complex recording was assembled.

Steve Gebhardt Biography:

Steve Gebhardt was born (January 6, 1937) and educated in Cincinnati. His parents were both painters trained at the Art Academy and later in Paris. Steve studied Architecture. He also received a Masters degree in Community Planning with a major in Environmental Design. While he was in college an interest in film became a passion and he began making 16mm experimental films. He also founded the U.C. Film Society in 1961, which later developed the Spring Arts Festival and brought dozens of film artists to Cincinnati, sponsored films and workshops but brought music and dance programs as well. After completing his studies at the University of Cincinnati he taught film in the U.C. Graduate School and Antioch College also making films commercially until he moved to New York City to manage the newly created Anthology Film Archives (located in The Public Theater) and to pursue a career in filmmaking.

Within weeks of moving to New York City he was asked to make a film of the recording sessions for the jazz opera, Escalator Over the Hill by composer Carla Bley and poet Paul Haines.

He immediately began a 3-year relationship with John Lennon and Yoko Ono where he made their films and ran their production company, Joko Films. During that time he was commissioned by ABC Network to direct the One to One Concert at Madison Square Garden, which was to become John Lennon's last public live performance.

(Excerpt from the booklet of the DVD, released and self-distributed by Steve Gebhardt in 2005)

Steve Gebhardt died on October 15, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio

Obituary in the New York Times



Film credits:

A Chronotransduction by

Adaptation and Music
Carla Bley

Words
Paul Haines

Production and Coordination
Michael Mantler

for Jazz Composers Orchestra Association

a Film by
Steve Gebhardt

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Edited by
Steve Gebhardt

Avid Editor
Tom Hayes

Offline editor
Neil Sharrow

Director of Photography
Steve Gebhardt

Additional Camera
Bob Fries
Dick Ward
Jeffrey Hewitt
Mike Mantler

Recording
November, 1970 - June, 1971
RCA Recording Studios, New York
Engineer, Ray Hall

March, 1971
Empirical Sound, at the Filmmakers Cinematheque
Engineer, Dave Jones

June, 1971
Butterfly Mobile Sound Van, at the Public Theater
Engineers: Karl Sjodahl, Bob Fries,
Nelson Weber, Wes Wickemeyer

Film Laboratory
WRS Labs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Film Transfer to Video
Post Production Services, Cincinnati, Ohio

Colorist Kevin Marck


...This Is Here

Speaker
VIVA

Phantom Music
MICHAEL MANTLER ring modulated piano, prepared piano
CARLA BLEY organs
DON PRESTON moog synthesizer

voice
CARLA BLEY

Multiple Public Members II
Howard Johnson
Carla Bley

Orchestra
Michael Mantler trumpet
Enrico Rava trumpet
Bob Carlisle french horn
Sharon Freeman french horn
Sam Burtis trombone
Jimmy Knepper trombone
Roswell Rudd trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba
Don Preston moog synthesizer
Carla Bley & Michael Mantler piano

Flies, Bullfrogs, and Mindsweepers
Michael Mantler
Carla Bley
Don Preston

Like Animals

Orchestra
Roswell Rudd trombone
Michael Mantler trumpet
Sharon Freeman french horn
Sam Burtis trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba
Charlie Haden bass
Paul Motian drums

Escalator Over The Hill

Cecil Clark
Tod Papageorge

Roomer
Bob Stewart

Opera Singer
Rosalind Hupp

Ancient Roomer
Karen Mantler

Men
Jack Jeffers
Howard Johnson
Timothy Marquand
Tod Papageorge
Bob Stewart

Hotel People
Jane Blackstone
Sharon Freeman
Rosalind Hupp
Jack Jeffers
Howard Johnson
Sheila Jordan
Timothy Marquand
Nancy Newton
Tod Papageorge
Phyllis Schneider
Bob Stewart
Pat Stewart

Orchestra
Sam Burtis trombone
Jimmy Knepper trombone
Roswell Rudd trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
Carla Bley piano
Charlie Haden bass
Paul Motian drums

Hotel Lobby Band
PERRY ROBINSON clarinet
NANCY NEWTON viola
Michael Mantler trumpet
Bob Carlisle french horn
Sharon Freeman french horn
Sam Burtis trombone
Jimmy Knepper trombone
Roswell Rudd trombone

Original Amateur Hotel Band
Michael Snow trumpet
Michael Mantler valve trombone
Howard Johnson tuba
Perry Robinson clarinet
Peggy Imig tenor sax
Nancy Newton viola
Richard Youngstein bass
Carla Bley piano
Paul Motian drums

Stay Awake

Loudspeaker
ROSWELL RUDD

Narration
VIVA
Ginger and David

Used Woman
SHEILA JORDAN

Roomer
BOB STEWART

Cecil Clark
TOD PAPAGEORGE

Nurse
JANE BLACKSTONE

Leader
CARLA BLEY

Orchestra
GATO BARBIERI tenor sax
Michael Mantler trumpet
Sharon Freeman french horn
Roswell Rudd trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba
Charlie Haden bass
Paul Motian drums

Businessmen

Jack I & II
JACK BRUCE

Jack's Traveling Band
JOHN McLAUGHLIN electric guitar
CARLA BLEY organ
JACK BRUCE electric bass
PAUL MOTIAN drums

Detective Writer Daughter

Jack
JACK BRUCE

Orchestra
JOHN McLAUGHLIN electric guitar
Michael Mantler trumpet
Sharon Freeman french horn
Roswell Rudd trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba
Jimmy Lyons alto sax
Gato Barbieri tenor sax
Chris Woods baritone sax
Carla Bley piano
Charlie Haden bass
Paul Motian drums

Small Town Agonist

David
PAUL JONES

Doctor
DON PRESTON

Orchestra
GATO BARBIERI tenor sax
PAUL MOTIAN drums
CARLA BLEY piano
Michael Mantler trumpet
Enrico Rava trumpet
Bob Carlisle french horn
Sharon Freeman french horn
Sam Burtis trombone
Jimmy Knepper trombone
Roswell Rudd trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba

Over Her Head

Leader
CARLA BLEY

Men
Howard Johnson
Sam Burtis
Timothy Marquand
Tod Papageorge
Bob Stewart

Women
Jane Blackstone
Sharon Freeman
Rosalind Hupp
Sheila Jordan
Nancy Newton
Pat Stewart

Yodeling Ventriloquist
HOWARD JOHNSON

Original Amateur Hotel Band
Michael Snow trumpet
Michael Mantler valve trombone
Howard Johnson tuba
Perry Robinson clarinet
Peggy Imig tenor sax
Nancy Newton viola
Richard Youngstein bass
Carla Bley piano
Paul Motian drums

Rawalpindi Blues

Jack
JACK BRUCE

Jack's Traveling Band
JOHN McLAUGHLIN electric guitar
CARLA BLEY piano, organ
JACK BRUCE electric bass
PAUL MOTIAN drums

Desert Band
DON CHERRY trumpet, ceramic flute, percussion
LEROY JENKINS violin
CALO SCOTT cello
RON McCLURE acoustic bass
SAM BROWN acoustic guitar
SOUREN BARONIAN clarinet
CARLA BLEY organ
PAUL MOTIAN percussion

Sand Shepherd
DON CHERRY

End of Rawalpindi

Ginger II
JEANNE LEE

Jack I & II
JACK BRUCE

His Friends
STEVE FERGUSON

Jack's Traveling Band
JOHN McLAUGHLIN electric guitar
CARLA BLEY organ
JACK BRUCE electric bass
PAUL MOTIAN drums

Desert Band
DON CHERRY trumpet
LEROY JENKINS violin
CALO SCOTT cello
RON McCLURE acoustic bass
SAM BROWN acoustic guitar
SOUREN BARONIAN clarinet
CARLA BLEY organ
PAUL MOTIAN dumbec

End of Animals

Doctor
DON PRESTON

Hotel People
Jane Blackstone
Sharon Freeman
Rosalind Hupp
Jack Jeffers
Howard Johnson
Sheila Jordan
Timothy Marquand
Nancy Newton
Tod Papageorge
Bob Stewart
Pat Stewart

Orchestra
Michael Mantler trumpet
Sharon Freeman french horn
Sam Burtis trombone
Roswell Rudd trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba
Charlie Haden bass
Paul Motian drums

...And It's Again

Loudspeaker
ROSWELL RUDD

Viva
VIVA

Orchestra
ROSWELL RUDD trombone
SHARON FREEMAN french horn
Michael Mantler trumpet
Sam Burtis trombone
Jack Jeffers bass trombone
John Buckingham tuba
Charlie Haden bass
Paul Motian drums

Phantom Music

MICHAEL MANTLER ring modulated piano, prepared piano
CARLA BLEY organs

Voice I & II
CARLA BLEY

Multiple Public Members III
CARLA BLEY

Jack I&II
JACK BRUCE

Desert Women
CARLA BLEY

Mutant I&II
CARLA BLEY

Viva
VIVA

Multiple Public Members
CARLA BLEY
Jane Blackstone
Jonathan Cott
Sharon Freeman
Steve Gebhardt
Tyrus Gerlach
Eileen Hale
Rosalind Hupp
Jack Jeffers
Howard Johnson
Sheila Jordan
Michael Mantler
Timothy Marquand
Nancy Newton
Tod Papageorge
Bob Stewart
Pat Stewart
Viva

Major Funding for this production provided by

The City of Cincinnati
The Ohio Arts Council

copyright - 1999
Steve Gebhardt & Carla Bley

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