Charlie Haden explains that his focus for Land Of The Sun rests firmly on "three great composers who reflect the beauty of the music of Mexico." José Sabre Marroquín, Armando Manzanero and Augustín Lara have given us a treasury of graceful themes that reflect a society where music has never taken a back seat, and a country that is proud to preserve its traditions. With his deep bass gently pushing its lyrical framework along rustic breezes, the ensemble is free to explore lush harmonic relationships and suave ballad outlines.
"Solamente Una Vez" wraps itself in golden cascades from Gonzalo Rubalcaba's piano. Tenderly, he treats the lovely ballad with honor. Gradually, he pours forth the heartfelt meaning of the ballad, before inviting Haden to add his haunting soliloquy. Both pianist and bassist, quite at home with a ballad, caress each refrain with elaborate care.
Marroquín's "Nostalgia" pairs trumpeter Michael Rodriguez with saxophonist Joe Lovano in a roaming journey through pleasant surroundings. The ensemble colors its passionate statements with a sweeping, seamless motion. The music is at once proud and relaxed.
Saxophonist Miguel Zenon, along with Rodriguez and Lovano, improvise lovely soliloquies on Marroquín's "De Siempre," while Rubalcaba and flutist Oriente Lopez give the composer's "Añoranza" a sonorous wave. Haden begins Marroquín's waltz "Cuando Te Podré Olvidar" with a gentle bass melody that opens the door for a mercurial alto flute chorus and a dreamy flugelhorn outing.
The ensemble takes great care to preserve the composer's intended purpose. Rubalcaba's arrangements allow the group's soft, pastel colors to blend evenly. Haden's recommended Land Of The Sun breathes freely in an atmosphere where lyrical beauty holds due respect, and improvised expressions have no strings attached.
Personnel: Charlie Haden- bass; Gonzalo Rubalcaba- piano, percussion; Ignacio Berroa- drums, percussion; Juan de la Cruz- bongos; Oriente Lopez- flute; Miguel Zenon- alto saxophone; Joe Lovano- tenor saxophone; Michael Rodriguez- trumpet, flugelhorn; Lionel Loueke, Larry Koonse- guitar