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Charlie Haden: Land of the Sun

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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Land of the Sun could—perhaps even should—be retitled Bolero: Gonzalo Rubalcaba Presents the Music of José Sabre MarroquÃ-n with Charlie Haden. This recording is about prowess of interpretative melodic dynamics; harmonic, rhythmic, and tonal beauty; and rigorous poetic tenderness.

Playing jazzed boleros at this level of musicianship isn't an easy matter nonetheless. One must have disciplined chops, intense sensibility, an openness to the compositions' emotive aim, an all-embracing musical lingo, and the intellectual fortitude to avoid the temptation to under- or overplay.

For instance, "¿Cuándo te podré olvidar? begins with Haden stating the melodic nucleus by himself. His waltzing, nostalgic, fat touch ensues a fluid subdued melodic trumpet and flute line as prelude to the first transition—enhanced by a slight sleight of synth-hand by Rubalcaba. Afterwards, flutist Oriente López offers the first solo, packing a breezing, strapping amount of notes in a couple of bars, albeit through fortified economy of expression. Michael RodrÃ-guez does him even better through a flugelhorn statement with plenty of feeling-full technique. Then Rubalcaba merely drops hints of aesthetic pleasure in sparse, genially touched notes. The coda is once again synth touched as if a memory was evanescing.

AgustÃ-n Lara's "Solamente una vez is treated through a magisterial traditional jazz trio, with drummer Ignacio Berroa caressing the drums with brushes while the two masters offer a wondrous rendition that, while glacially paced, elicits thoughtful, yet fleeting feelings of miraculous contentment with life as music and vice versa.

Curiously, José "Chombo Silva's Los Hits de Manzanero—the only other entire recording featuring a jazz treatment of boleros—also counted upon a distinguished bassist: "Bobby RodrÃ-guez. This Haden/Rubalcaba collaboration, however, supersedes the former in all conceivable respects.


Track Listing: 1. Fuiste t

Personnel: Alto sax: Miguel Zen

Title: Land of the Sun | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


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