384

Charlie Haden's Nocturne

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Cleveland Museum of Art- Cleveland, OH
February 8, 2003

When Charlie Haden took to the stage of Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art, his face beamed as he scanned what was a full house of enthusiastic fans. Even before playing a note, Haden seemed compelled to mention the inspiration he had taken from many of the art works he had seen while touring the galleries at the museum earlier in the day. Then he went on to extol Cleveland’s virtues, adding that according to album sales figures, his most recent album American Dreams has sold more copies in Cleveland than in such urban centers as New York or Los Angeles.

The occasion of Haden’s appearance in Cleveland (and a rare one at that) was the performance of music from his Grammy Award-winning Nocturne and most of the original players who were involved in that project were on hand, including pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, saxophonist David Sanchez, drummer Ignacio Berroa, and violinist Federico Britos Ruiz.

It seems that with his projects of recent years, Haden seems bent on painting with a softer hue that is often diametrically opposed to the kind of radical avant-garde stance that many associate with Haden during his formative years. The music from Nocturne is no exception, with the folkloric boleros that serve as fodder for Rubalcaba’s arrangements never making it much past your traditional ballad tempo. And therein lies the rub, because as beautiful and delicate as the music was throughout the performance, under the surface was a nagging desire to hear Haden and his cohorts break into an up-tempo romp that would dispel an irksome awareness of similitude.

One had to have just a bit of compassion for Berroa, who had limited opportunities for expressing himself much past the traditional swish-swish sound of his brushes. Sanchez, on the other hand, utilized extreme breath control in voicing his delicate statements, yet there was a burning fire smoldering just below the surface that coaxed from him some of the most radiant moments of the evening. At one point, the saxophonist even quoted a phrase from Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt” as if to suggest that his thought process too was on something just a bit more extroverted. Haden’s solo opportunities were few, but he made the most of what he allowed himself, despite the fact that the decision to go for the minimal amount of amplification meant that his bass lines were often swallowed up by the rest of the ensemble.

Haden has acknowledged that his love of film noire has had a direct impact on his musical statement of the past several years. He’s clearly longing for the beauty and space that comes with the kind of lush balladic pieces that he chooses to explore. So maybe the onus is on all of us to catch up with Haden’s current developments, yet like even with the most enjoyable things in life, too much of a good thing can be a plausible certainty when taken to the extreme.

Photo Credit
Joe Smith


Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater" Live Reviews Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens" Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "We Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews We Jazz Festival 2016
by Anthony Shaw
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Barranquijazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Barranquijazz Festival 2016
by Mark Holston
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Belgrade Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Belgrade Jazz Festival 2016
by Thomas Conrad
Published: November 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!