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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Charlie Haden teams up once more with the young Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba for this melancholy, soothing album. Ignacio Berroa, on drums and percussion, completes the core trio. Special guests include tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Sanchez, violinist Federico Britos Ruiz, and guitarist Pat Metheny (one track only). Rubalcaba contributes orchestrations on two cuts, both of which omit drums and percussion. Haden's intention is to explore the bolero, a distinctive Latin dance rhythm that Ignacio Berroa accents with a soft, subtle snare drum roll, played with brushes, beginning on the "and" of the first beat of the bar and ending on the second. This rhythm is perfect for a slow dance, and indeed, the entire album is highly romantic, with bittersweet melodies and lilting cadences. The only problem is that Berroa's bolero figure anchors nearly every track -- perhaps what one should expect from a bolero album, but there's no getting around the fact that the music sounds pretty much the same throughout. (To be fair, Berroa isn't solely to blame for the sameness.) Most of the songs, save for two originals by Haden and one by Rubalcaba, are Cuban and Mexican standards, and they're beauties. Haden's reluctance to mess with them is understandable. But the unvaryingly straightforward arrangements fade too easily into the background. Nocturne may well be the best candlelight dinner music ever, but Haden and his guests are capable of more. © David R. Adler /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 1, 1981 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
It should come as no surprise that Land of the Sun, a collection of Mexican ballads written by three of Mexico's most prominent modern composers, is yet another chapter in Charlie Haden's continually unfolding musical biography. Haden was given a folder of songs by the late and legendary Mexican composer José Sabre Marroquín by his daughter as a thank-you for his recording of "Nocturnal." Haden went over the tunes and decided to record some of them; he turned them over to pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba for arranging, employed a stellar band, and Land of the Sun is the end result. What a result. There are eight compositions by Marroquín and one each by Augustín Lara and Armando Manzanero, in their own right prolific and revered songwriters who have been recorded in this country by Presley, Sinatra, and Bennett, to name a few. The band assembled for this project is stellar -- Joe Lovano, Ignacio Berroa, Rubalcaba, Miguel Zenón, Oriente Lopez, Larry Koonse, Lionel Loueke, Michael Rodriguez, and Juan De La Cruz. Rubalcaba's charts don't transform the songs into jazz tunes, but rather become an entryway for melodic improvisation, rhythmic invention, and group interplay. Rubalcaba's front-line interaction with Lovano, Zenón, and Rodriguez -- especially on "De Siempre" -- is emotionally honest and musically inspiring. "Nostalgia," introduced by Spanish guitar, percussion, and piano, is a wonderful springlike bittersweet melody wrapped in a languid rhythm and made poignant first by Rodriguez, and then Zenón, before the guitars waft back in. Lara's "Solamenta una Vez" is arranged for trio here. Rubalcaba's solo, with its shifting ostinati and alternating chordal and single-note runs, is breathtaking. Lovano's lyricism on "Esta Tarde Vi Llover," by Manzanero, is played in his best Ben Webster. With skittering brush work by Berroa, Lovano accents the tune's similarities to "A Kiss Is Just a Kiss" before turning it over to Rubalcaba, who extrapolates the harmony and opens it up against De La Cruz's bongos. Land of the Sun is a deeply romantic album, but it is lush without artificial ornamentation or affectation. Musically, its refinement is such that it begs critical as well as casual listening. Hopefully this won't be the last such exercise from Haden and Rubalcaba, but an introduction. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 14, 2016 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
In 2011, bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Carla Bley led an iteration of the Liberation Music Orchestra in a live concert at the Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. It was partially intended as a warm-up for a forthcoming Liberation Music Orchestra album, a process that had been in the works since 2007. Sadly, Haden died from post-polio syndrome in 2014 before any new LMO tracks could be recorded. Thankfully, Haden, along with his wife, Ruth Cameron Haden, and Bley had discussed his desires for how to finish the album prior to his passing. Furthermore, the 2011 performance, which included two new arrangements earmarked for the planned album, had been recorded for Belgian public radio. All this meant that an album was possible, and in 2015 Bley convened the LMO in a studio to record the new material. Per Haden's request, longtime friend and esteemed bassist Steve Swallow was brought in to play his parts. Produced by Ruth Cameron Haden and Bley, along with Jean-Philippe Allard and Farida Bachir, Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings) is an atmospheric, elegiac album inspired by Haden's longstanding love and concern for the environment. Two of the songs, Bley's evocative arrangement of Miles Davis' "Blue in Green" and Haden's "Song for the Whales," are culled from the live concert and bookend the album. Opening with a haunting, bowed rubato intro in which Haden mimics whale sounds, "Song for the Whales" shifts gears into a searing, confrontational statement centered on saxophonist Tony Malaby's furious improvisation. Similarly, "Blue in Green," given a lush, enveloping treatment by Bley, is anchored by trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, whose yearning, vocal-like intensity brings to mind a compelling mix of Miles Davis and original LMO member Don Cherry. Also included are several older Bley compositions, with "Silent Spring" and "Útviklingssang" both dramatically rearranged with spine-tingling results by Bley. Similarly, Bley's ruminative title track has the measured pace and sobbing, breath-like flow of a person in mourning. What is also particularly compelling about Time/Life is how well the live recordings blend with the studio tracks. Much of this is due to Bley, whose arranging and spare, harmonic piano skills bridge the recordings and help elevate the album to one of the best in the LMO's catalog. Also due credit is Swallow, who is able to fill Haden's role while also adding his own distinctive voice to the band's legacy. Along with being bravura, highly engaging performances, these songs are also somewhat bittersweet in light of Haden's passing. Adding to this feeling is the fact that on the live tracks you hear Haden address the audience, his voice already weak from the effects of the post-polio syndrome. Ultimately, on Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings), it's that voice, literally and creatively, that remains with you. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny have been good friends since the 1970s, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that Beyond the Missouri Sky should be their first duet album together. Both musicians are from small towns in Missouri, which leads Metheny to speculate in the liner notes if this similarity of childhood ambience might have something to do with the two players' obvious love and affinity for each other. Whatever the answer, the result of this logical pairing is a rather somber and moody one. Metheny has a dark tone on his electric guitar, and on Beyond the Missouri Sky, where he plays acoustic, his sound is similarly deep and rounded. Metheny has called Haden one of the greatest improvisers of all time, and although this may be hyperbolic exaggeration from a longtime friend, Haden has at least earned the right to defend the claim. On Beyond the Missouri Sky, his playing is as sensitive and beautiful as always. Although one can understand the vibe that Haden and Metheny were going for, the preponderance of slow and mid-tempo material can wear on the listener. When they eschew the dirge-like tempos, as on the fantastic "The Precious Jewel," the results are just as atmospheric and are, in fact, even more evocative of the Midwestern landscapes that are featured so prominently in the album art. With Metheny setting up a strummy rhythm, Haden plays the stately melody with impeccable tone. This track, one of many, also showcases Metheny overdubbing different guitars to thicken out the sound of the performance. The results are similar, at least in spirit, to Bill Frisell's recordings in the latter half of the 1990s. Although many Metheny and Haden compositions that are featured on this record, it is their readings of older material that are most effective. The Jimmy Webb classic "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is wonderfully nostalgic, as Metheny uses subtle guitar and synth washes to pad a beautiful duet performance, and the traditional "He's Gone Away" is the greatest lullaby that never was. Overall, Beyond the Missouri Sky is a fine record when the material is happening, but a bit of a chore when it is not. If Haden and Metheny had gone with the more Americana theme throughout, instead of interspersing that rootsy feel with post-bop, it would have been a much stronger record. © Daniel Gioffre /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 10, 2011 | Naim Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

The third in a series of Charlie Haden duet projects for Verve in the 1990s finds the increasingly nostalgia-minded bass player working New York City's Iridium jazz club with pianist Kenny Barron. Moreover, it is entirely possible that we are getting a skewed view of the gig; according to Haden, he and his co-producer wife Ruth tilted this album heavily in the direction of romantic ballads, eliminating the bebop and avant-garde numbers that the two may have also played at the club. Be that as it may, this is still a thoughtful, intensely musical, sometimes haunting set of performances, with Barron displaying a high level of lyrical sensitivity and Haden applying his massive tone sparingly. Most of the seven tracks are fantasias on well-known standards, although one of the most eloquent performances on the disc is Barron's playing on his own "Twilight Song." If Haden deliberately set out to create a single reflective mood, he certainly succeeded, although those coming to Haden for the first time through this and most of his other '90s CDs would never suspect that this man once played such a fire-breathing role in the jazz avant-garde. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | ECM

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Jazz - Released January 10, 2011 | Naim Records

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Jazz - Released May 10, 1993 | Dreyfus Jazz

During the late '70s, Charlie Haden recorded all manner of duo sessions with musicians ranging from Ornette Coleman to Keith Jarrett, but one of the more unusual was this one with gypsy guitarist and Django Reinhardt devotee Christian Escoude. Not odd because of musical incompatibility; indeed, these two mesh together quite well. It's just that the two come from such different backgrounds that one might suspect they'd be unlikely to meet, much less think about playing together. But this album made up largely of Reinhardt covers works quite well, Haden playing with romantic fervor and Escoude not merely aping his idol, but playing in a relaxed and timeless manner. Beginning with an almost funky rendition of the John Lewis homage "Django," the musicians feel quite at home with the material and each other, never venturing too far from the themes and listening intently. The title track, a bass solo by Haden, is a special gem. A warm, unhurried session, one that Haden fans will enjoy for both his prominence and creativity as well as for Escoude's carefully considered contributions. © Brian Olewnick /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 1, 1983 | ECM

The second recording by Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra utilizes a few alumni (the bassist/leader, trumpeters Don Cherry and Mike Mantler, tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, drummer Paul Motian and pianist Carla Bley), along with other musicians who rose to prominence since the 1969 debut album (Jim Pepper and Steve Slagle on reeds, trombonist Gary Valante, guitarist Mick Goodrick, Sharon Freeman on French horn, and Jack Jeffers on tuba). As with the first set, the music mixes together some melodic but avant-garde explorations with revolutionary themes including songs from the Spanish Civil War, El Salvador, Portugal and Chile. "Too Late," a duet by Bley and Haden, serves as a change of pace. The music is quite credible and emotional, and has dated well. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

This is an unusual record. Bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Hank Jones perform a variety of spirituals, hymns and folk songs as duets. The traditional music (which includes such tunes as "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child" and "We Shall Overcome") are all performed respectfully and with reverence. These melodic yet subtly swinging interpretations hold one's interest throughout and reward repeated listenings. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released December 31, 1988 | Soul Note

The very democratic trio of bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Paul Motian and pianist Geri Allen perform sensitive yet often exploratory group improvisations on several originals, Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman," and Herbie Nichols' "Shuffle Montgomery." The communication between these three masterful players is quite impressive. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Naim Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Soul Note

SILENCE features bassist Charlie Haden joined by Chet Baker, drummer Billy Higgins, and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi. It was recorded just six months before Baker's death. His sad lyricism is a stirring presence throughout the half-dozen tunes. Haden's "Silence" is like a mournful prayer with Baker's trumpet at the fore. Elsewhere, Baker exhibits full commitment, even on pieces that had been in his repertoire for 35 years at that point ("My Funny Valentine" and "Round About Midnight"). Italian pianist Pieranunzi plays in a style that embraces jazz, but draws from classical music (not unlike Bill Evans). Higgins has worked with Haden off and on since their time together with Ornette Coleman in the '50s. He brings a modernist's sensibility to his playing, along with a light and elegant touch that perfectly suits the quiet nature of this set. All in all, this is a masterful union, one that's perfectly and cleanly documented. © TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 10, 2011 | Naim Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

This overly long quartet-plus-strings session is Charlie Haden's paean to an ideal America, made during a time that was ripe for such reflections. The band, with Haden on bass, Michael Brecker on tenor, Brad Mehldau on piano, and Brian Blade on drums, is unassailably strong. But listeners could have lived without the ear-candy sheen provided by the 34-piece orchestra, arranged primarily by Alan Broadbent, with additional contributions from Jeremy Lubbock and Vince Mendoza. (Broadbent and Mendoza also penned charts for Jane Monheit's In the Sun, released two weeks earlier.) Aside from outright banalities like "America the Beautiful" and "It Might Be You" (yes, the Stephen Bishop lite-radio hit), there are some saving graces, like Keith Jarrett's "Prism" and "No Lonely Nights," Mehldau's "Ron's Place," and Haden's two originals, "American Dreams" and "Nightfall." But Pat Metheny's "Travels" goes soggy without its Midwestern guitar twang, and Ornette Coleman's "Bird Food," one of only three tracks not to feature the orchestra, is so wildly out of place that its impact is somehow diminished -- notwithstanding a vivid pedal-point interlude about six minutes in. © David R. Adler /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 20, 2001 | ECM

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | ECM

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

In volume four of the Charlie Haden concerts at the 1989 Montreal Festival, Montreal Tapes with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paul Motian returns as the drummer, but this time, the piano chair is occupied by the then-little-known Haden discovery, Cuban Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who proceeds to dazzle the audience with his mind-boggling speed. Rubalcaba's irresistible momentum drives this session whenever he solos; all the others can do is hang onto the whirlwind. The music-making in general, though, is more tied to the mainstream than that of the companion Montreal trio album with Geri Allen, and this group doesn't have quite the same internal compatibility as that of the Allen trio. There is one concession to Rubalcaba's Latin heritage, Haden's Spanish-tinged tune "La Pasionara," in which the Cuban goes bonkers with the tremolos. Haden's own soloing is massive and outgoing in tone; clearly, he was hugely enjoying this festival where he was given total carte blanche. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

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Charlie Haden in the magazine