- January 7th, 2017
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Archive for the ‘Charlie Haden’ Category
To Charlie Haden my eternal gratitude, and my constant desire that this world and coming generations may discover and share in the love that Charlie impressed on each of his presentations, songs and actions.
Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Tokyo Adagio (Universal Music – Blue Note Japan)
Charlie Haden behoorde tot de allergrootste bassisten uit de jazz geschiedenis. Naam maakte hij in de baanbrekende freejazz groep van Ornette Coleman met Don Cherry, Dewey Redman en Ed Blackwell, die nagenoeg alle toen geldende jazzconventies losliet en daarmee het pad plaveide voor de moderne jazz, zoals op hun invloedrijke albums “”The Shape Of Jazz To Come”’ en “Change Of The Century” te horen is. Ondanks het zeer vrije spel op deze albums, en in andere groepen, zoals zijn eigen politiek geëngageerde Liberation Music Orchestra, was Charlie Haden daarnaast ook een hele lyrische bassist, met een warme sonore sound, en een soms duidelijk hoorbare liefde voor Amerikaanse folk music, zoals in zijn samenwerking met Pat Metheny. Haden speelde gedurende zijn lange carrière vaak in duo bezetting. De eerste maal dat hij samenspeelde met de Afro-Cubaanse pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba was op het jazz festival van Havana midden jaren ’80, wat uiteindelijk resulteerde in het fraaie album Nocturne uit 2001. Het album Tokyo Adagio (Universal Music – Blue Note Japan) van het Charlie Haden Gonzalo Rubalcaba Duo is postuum uitgebracht in 2015 en bevat een prachtige selectie van songs van een viertal intieme live optredens in Tokyo uit 2005, met gracieus en doorvoeld samenspel van deze twee grootheden in de jazz, waarbij elke gespeelde noot raak is. Het album bevat ingetogen improvisaties op een viertal jazzstandards en twee eigen composities met grote emotionele zeggingskracht. Doordat de song “En la Orilla del Mundo” op beide albums met Rubalcaba is opgenomen (nl ook op Nocturne) valt de kracht die uitgaat van het basspel van Haden extra op; de traag en soulvolle stuwende, maar ook melodische kracht van zijn bas draagt de muziek in beide gevallen. Het maakt ogenschijnlijk niet uit of daarnaast nog alleen gespeeld wordt op piano, of door een voltallige band.
Finally live! Gracias! Charlie, I will love you forever….
Portrait of Charlie Haden by Kathy Sloane.
Wonderful portrait of Charlie by Kathy Sloane.
Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, “Tokyo Adagio.” (Impulse). Sublime – as much, in its way, as Haden’s duets with Keith Jarrett. Once upon a time before Cuba became a destination for any American with a passport who wanted to go there, frequent travel there seemed to be mostly for Canadians and American musicians. It was then in 1986 that Charlie Haden played a Cuban concert on the same day as the band of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Haden’s story was that he was in his dressing room when Rubalcaba began to play onstage. Haden overheard Rubalcaba solo and said “who is THAT?” Rubalcaba had just come back from playing in the Soviet Union. He didn’t even speak English yet. Through a translator Haden told him “we have to play together.” And they did the next day. When Haden got back to the U.S., according to Rubalcaba’s notes here, he said to Bruce Lundvall, then at Blue Note, “you gotta sign this kid. He lives in Cuba.” And so Lundvall did. This gorgeous ballad recital was recorded live in Tokyo in 2008. Writes Haden’s widow, Ruth Cameron-Haden “Charlie often said to me and others, that he was an ‘adagio’ guy.” Listen to these adagios here – in particular a masterful version of David Raksin’s almost hidden masterwork “My Love and I” – and you know this is a jazz duet for the ages. Before his death was hastened by post-polio syndrome, Haden made it known that he wanted these tapes released. He couldn’t have been more right. They’re marvelous. ◊◊◊◊ (Jeff Simon)
Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Tokyo Adagio – Impulse B0023543-02, 51:51 ****1/2:
(Charlie Haden – bass; Gonzalo Rubalcaba – piano)
There are certain jazz artists that are known to be ultimate accompanists. They are often either bassists or pianists. Piano players have to sublimate their egos – and many times their virtuosity – to comp behind vocalists as their role is to provide backing geared to the singer’s strengths. They “fill in the blanks” and provide a setting for the vocals. Some of the best piano accompanists were also major recording artists such as Hank Jones and Bill Evans, while Tommy Flanagan and Ellis Larkins were better known as long term pianists for Ella Fitzgerald.
For mood setting it is hard to top the role of a jazz bassist. They set the pulse for a session and their energy and “ears” make all the difference in inspiring their band mates. Ray Brown, Dave Holland, and Ron Carter all come to mind. Charlie Haden had the distinction, however, of not fitting into any niche. He played with some of the most adventurous musicians (Ornette Coleman, early Keith Jarrett, Don Cherry), while having his roots in country and western. He played some of the most exquisite solos while leading Quartet West and accompanying Hank Jones and Brad Mehldau.
Charlie was also known for championing the cause of younger musicians. He met the young Cuban pianist, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (then 23), in 1986, while attending the Havana Jazz Plaza Festival. He recommended Gonzalo to Blue Note Records who signed him to a recording contract. As guest artist to the Montreal Jazz Festival, Haden recorded a duo CD in 1989 with Rubalcaba, and they later recorded Nocturne and Land of the Sun. Before passing away in 2014, Charlie pushed for the release of recordings that he and Gonzalo made while playing a four day gig at the Blue Note night club in Tokyo in March 2005.
We are lucky that the resulting issue, Tokyo Adagio, has been released. Its divine beauty is a testament to the admiration that the two artists had for each other. The seven tracks include Latin inspired (“En La Orilla Del Mundo,” “Solamente Una Vez”), a standard, compositions from each artist, as well as a heartfelt blues from Ornette Coleman.
What is universal to all the tracks is a gentleness, and sense of an intuitive late night conversation between two soul mates who had not seen each other for a long time, yet can regain their connection within minutes of reuniting. Even the up-tempo numbers do not change the mood set by this duo. Thank goodness that the folks at Impulse Records saw fit to honor the wishes of Charlie Haden, to make sure his musical friendship with Gonzalo was shared with the world. For late night contemplation Tokyo Adagio can’t be beat.
TrackList: En La Orilla Del Mundo (The Edge of the World), My Love and I, When Will the Blues Leave, Sandino, Solamente Una Vez (You Belong to My Heart), Transparence
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