As a member of saxophonist Ornette Coleman's early bands, bassist Charlie Haden became known as one of free jazz's founding fathers. Haden never settled into any of jazz's many stylistic niches, however. Certainly he played his share of dissonant music -- in the '60 and '70s, as a sideman with Coleman and Keith Jarrett, and as a leader of the Liberation Music Orchestra, for instance -- but for the most part, he seemed drawn to consonance. Witness his trio with saxophonist Jan Garbarek and guitarist Egberto Gismonti, whose ECM album Silence epitomized a profoundly lyrical and harmonically simple aesthetic; or his duo with guitarist Pat Metheny, which had as much to do with American folk traditions as with jazz. There was a soulful reserve to Haden's art. Never did he play two notes when one (or none) would do. Not a flashy player along the lines of a Scott LaFaro (who also played with Coleman), Haden's facility may have been limited, but his sound and intensity of expression were as deep as any jazz bassist's. Rather than concentrate on speed and agility, Haden subtly explored his instrument's timbral possibilities with a sure hand and sensitive ear.
This album is a fascinating reissue that comfortably straddles the lines of jazz, folk, and world music, working up a storm by way of a jazz protest album that points toward the Spanish Civil War in particular and the Vietnam War in passing. Haden leads the charge and contributes material, but the real star here may in fact be Carla Bley, who arranged numbers, wrote several, and contributed typically brilliant piano work.
Also of particular note in a particularly talented crew is guitarist Sam Brown, the standout of "El Quinto Regimiento/Los Cuatro Generales/Viva la Quince Brigada," a 21-minute marathon. Reissue producer Michael Cuscuna has done his best with the mastering here, but listeners will note a roughness to the sound -- one that is in keeping with the album's tone and attitude.
|2||Song Of The United Front||1:52|
|3a||El Quinto Regimento (The Fifth Regiment)||20:58|
|3b||Los Cuatro Generales (The Four Generals)|
|3c||Viva La Quince Brigada (Long Live The Fifteenth Brigade)|
|4||The Ending To The First Side||2:07|
|5||Song For Ché||9:29|
|7||The Interlude (Drinking Music||1:24|
|8||Circus '68 '69||6:10|
|9||We Shall Overcome||1:19|
Charlie Haden - Liberation Music Orchestra
(256 kbps, cover art included)