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Charlie Haden Quartet West|Sophisticated Ladies

Sophisticated Ladies

Charlie Haden Quartet West

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Bassist extraordinaire Charlie Haden has always prized diversity in his music, whether reaching for the outer limits with Ornette Coleman a half-century ago, leading his own experimental Liberation Music Orchestra or, in 2008, celebrating his roots in what's now called Americana on Rambling Boy, a Grammy-nominated album that featured contributions from Elvis Costello, Béla Fleck, and others. As they mark their 25th year together, Haden's Quartet West -- not so much a side trip at this point as a comfy base to occasionally return to -- offers up Sophisticated Ladies, a collection split between collaborations with superstar female vocalists and rich instrumentals, nearly all of it heavily orchestrated. The set expands upon the concept Haden first explored in 1999 on The Art of the Song, which utilized vocalists Shirley Horn and Bill Henderson on various film songs and standards. This time, with tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, pianist/arranger Alan Broadbent (both mainstays of the quartet), and drummer Rodney Green, Haden goes for a lush, all-embracing sound that suggests a warm, cozy mood that reflects a time -- which may or may not ever have existed -- when life was much less hectic. The recording largely pays tribute to the romantic balladry of the mid-20th century, and Haden's choices of both material and guest artists allow him to bring that concept to fruition gloriously. Diana Krall, leading the back-to-back "Goodbye" and "Wahoo," closes out the album: the first is a whispery take on the Gordon Jenkins number that served as Benny Goodman's theme song, and the latter an uptempo swinger written by Benny Harris. Norah Jones was a natural pick for a set that values classiness and sensuality, and her "Ill Wind," penned by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and arranged by Haden, exudes a smoky nightclub ambience, Broadbent's piano lending a blues touch to Jones' soothing delivery. Cassandra Wilson is another inspired pick, and her interpretation of Johnny Mercer's "My Love and I," bathed in strings and elegance, is a highlight of the set. The album's other vocal performances -- by Melody Gardot, Renée Fleming, and Ruth Cameron -- are also memorable, but not to be overlooked are the non-vocal tracks. Hank Jones' bluesy "Angel Face" is simultaneously sweet and melancholy, while Steve Khun's fiery "Today I Am a Man" is the swingingest number here. And of course, Haden couldn't very well title his album Sophisticated Ladies without including Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," which matches Watts' bold saxophone licks to another luxuriant orchestration. Sophisticated Ladies does fall just short at times of mimicking a brand of saccharine faux-post-big-band jazz that flourished in the '50s and early '60s, but Haden and his team are too masterful to allow their tribute to lose its stylishness and, of course, its sophistication.
© Jeff Tamarkin /TiVo

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Sophisticated Ladies

Charlie Haden Quartet West

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1
If I'm Lucky
00:05:40

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - JOSEF MYROW, ComposerLyricist - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - De Lange, Composer - Melody Gardot, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

2
Sophisticated Lady
00:04:28

Duke Ellington, Composer - Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Mitchell Parish, Author - Irving Mills, Author - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

3
Ill Wind
00:04:24

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Harold Arlen, ComposerLyricist - Ted Koehler, ComposerLyricist - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Norah Jones, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

4
Today I Am A Man
00:05:22

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Kuhn, ComposerLyricist - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

5
My Love And I
00:04:14

Johnny Mercer, ComposerLyricist - Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Raksin, ComposerLyricist - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Cassandra Wilson, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

6
Theme from "Markham"
00:04:39

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Stanley Wilson, ComposerLyricist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

7
Let's Call It A Day
00:05:51

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Henderson, ComposerLyricist - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lew Brown, ComposerLyricist - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

8
Angel Face
00:04:08

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Hank Jones, ComposerLyricist - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

9
A Love Like This
00:05:12

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Victor Young, ComposerLyricist - Ned Washington, ComposerLyricist - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Renee Fleming, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

10
My Old Flame
00:05:35

Arthur Johnston, ComposerLyricist - Sam Coslow, ComposerLyricist - Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

11
Goodbye
00:05:48

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Jenkins, ComposerLyricist - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Diana Krall, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

12
Wahoo
00:04:52

Ernie Watts, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jay Newland, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Justin Gerrish, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alan Broadbent, Conductor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Haden, Producer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Bennie Harris, ComposerLyricist - Vince Caro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ruth Cameron, Producer - Charlie Haden Quartet West, MainArtist - Rodney Green, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Lodeiro, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Universal International Music B.V.

Album Description

Bassist extraordinaire Charlie Haden has always prized diversity in his music, whether reaching for the outer limits with Ornette Coleman a half-century ago, leading his own experimental Liberation Music Orchestra or, in 2008, celebrating his roots in what's now called Americana on Rambling Boy, a Grammy-nominated album that featured contributions from Elvis Costello, Béla Fleck, and others. As they mark their 25th year together, Haden's Quartet West -- not so much a side trip at this point as a comfy base to occasionally return to -- offers up Sophisticated Ladies, a collection split between collaborations with superstar female vocalists and rich instrumentals, nearly all of it heavily orchestrated. The set expands upon the concept Haden first explored in 1999 on The Art of the Song, which utilized vocalists Shirley Horn and Bill Henderson on various film songs and standards. This time, with tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, pianist/arranger Alan Broadbent (both mainstays of the quartet), and drummer Rodney Green, Haden goes for a lush, all-embracing sound that suggests a warm, cozy mood that reflects a time -- which may or may not ever have existed -- when life was much less hectic. The recording largely pays tribute to the romantic balladry of the mid-20th century, and Haden's choices of both material and guest artists allow him to bring that concept to fruition gloriously. Diana Krall, leading the back-to-back "Goodbye" and "Wahoo," closes out the album: the first is a whispery take on the Gordon Jenkins number that served as Benny Goodman's theme song, and the latter an uptempo swinger written by Benny Harris. Norah Jones was a natural pick for a set that values classiness and sensuality, and her "Ill Wind," penned by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and arranged by Haden, exudes a smoky nightclub ambience, Broadbent's piano lending a blues touch to Jones' soothing delivery. Cassandra Wilson is another inspired pick, and her interpretation of Johnny Mercer's "My Love and I," bathed in strings and elegance, is a highlight of the set. The album's other vocal performances -- by Melody Gardot, Renée Fleming, and Ruth Cameron -- are also memorable, but not to be overlooked are the non-vocal tracks. Hank Jones' bluesy "Angel Face" is simultaneously sweet and melancholy, while Steve Khun's fiery "Today I Am a Man" is the swingingest number here. And of course, Haden couldn't very well title his album Sophisticated Ladies without including Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," which matches Watts' bold saxophone licks to another luxuriant orchestration. Sophisticated Ladies does fall just short at times of mimicking a brand of saccharine faux-post-big-band jazz that flourished in the '50s and early '60s, but Haden and his team are too masterful to allow their tribute to lose its stylishness and, of course, its sophistication.
© Jeff Tamarkin /TiVo

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