If they chisel a fifth face into Mt. Rushmore, it ought to be Ms. Bley’s. Now that I got your attention with that rah-rah bit of hyperbole, I must say that Carla Bley has indeed done it again: Looking For America is the latest edition of droll, top-shelf musical goodness by one of America’s finest jazz composers. The reason you, Dear Reader, may not know of the swingin’ oblong charms of Ms. Bley is her insistence on utilizing humor (as much Thelonious Monk and Charles Ives as Chico Marx - the latter of whom had his own big band) instead of brassy bombast, her stuff is neither overly "out" nor is it "traditional" bebop/swing, and - let’s be honest - big bands don’t get a lot of airplay. If this platter could be broken down in recipe-type format, I’d have to enumerate these ingredients: a 1/3 cup of Duke Ellington (as she writes for the strengths of her soloists vivid, almost impressionistic writing), 1/3 Gil Evans (literate, pointed swing) and of the cup equal parts The Chas Boys: Ives and Mingus, Billy May, T. Monk, Quincy Jones, David Amram, Aaron Copeland and Raymond Scott. Bley weaves a subtle, respectful tribute to American and its offspring Americana by working in swatches and snatches of patriotic song and impressions taken from national window-views in cars, trains, planes, buses, ballparks, movies and collective/unconscious memory - she doesn’t engage in knee-jerk patriotism and wave the flag, but instead weaves a facsimile flag of her own. Looking is jam-packed with concise, hearty solos and rousing, cinematic textures and rollicking good humor, and is thus highly recommended to those who treasure fine orchestral jazz (as opposed to ka w/ "a lot of instruments"). And IF there’s even a mountain-carving of the Great Women of American Music, I vote it has the likenesses of Carla Bley, Mary Lou Williams, Jackie DeShannon and Aretha.