501

Charlie Haden/Liberation Music Orchestra: Not In Our Name

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Charlie Haden/Liberation Music Orchestra: Not In Our Name This empowering masterpiece of an album succeeds brilliantly on at least three levels: as proof that instrumental jazz can be as powerful a protest music as the lyric-based Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan tradition; as demonstration that at least one corner of the domestic American opposition to the Bush administration is in strong and resonant form; and as confirmation that Charlie Haden and Carla Bley's shared musical vision for the Liberation Music Orchestra can still produce some of the richest, most singular little big band music it will ever be your pleasure to hear.

Haden and Bley founded the Liberation Music Orchestra in '69, and this is only the band's fourth album in 35 years. The title Not In Our Name comes from the window posters displayed by householders throughout Europe in protest at the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq—Haden noticed the posters while on tour in '03.

Moved to create an album which articulated his own and many other Americans' opposition to the war, Haden reassembled the LMO and asked Bley to arrange material by a wide range of American composers—from Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Bley and himself to Antonin Dvorak and Samuel Barber.

Haden says he chose all American composers because he wanted make a statement that "just because you're not for everything that this administration is doing, doesn't mean that you're not patriotic." To emphasise that point, the medley "America The Beautiful" includes the African-American anthem "Lift Every Voice And Sing" and Coleman's "Skies Of America," while Bley's gutsily reggaefied arrangement of Metheny's "This Is Not America" quotes "Dixie," "The Star Spangled Banner," and "Battle Hymn Of The Republic." The bitter- sweet, ironic inclusion of iconic patriotic anthems within Not In Our Name is underscored by the strange and dissonant voicings Bley employs in her arrangements. You hear things differently, and maybe you understand them differently too, just like Bley and Haden intend.

On a purely artistic level, the music is stunning throughout. Michael Rodriguez's warm and embracing trumpet references both Chet Baker and Fats Navarro, and his showcase "Goin' Home" is one of many highlights; Ahnee Sharon Freeman and Joe Daley are awesome, their French horn and tuba playing truly astonishing, genius achievements; Steve Cardenas' guitar is a South of the Border delight; and the sax section is comprised of three stone stellar giants. Haden and Bley solo infrequently, but beautifully.

"So now," writes Haden in his liner notes, "although we lost the election, we have not lost the commitment to reclaim our country in the name of humanity and decency. Don't give up—the struggle continues!" It continues in little ol' England too.


Track Listing: Not In Our Name; This Is Not America; Blue Anthem; America The Beautiful (Medley); Amazing Grace; Goin' Home (from Dvorak's New World Symphony); Throughout; Adagio (from Barber's Adagio For Strings).

Personnel: Michael Rodriguez, trumpet; Seneca Black, trumpet; Curtis Fowlkes, trombone; Ahnee Sharon Freeman, French horn; Joe Daley, tuba; Miguel Zenon, alto saxophone; Chris Cheek, tenor saxophone; Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone; Steve Cardenas, electric and acoustic guitars; Carla Bley, piano; Charlie Haden, bass; Matt Wilson, drums. Arranged and conducted by Carla Bley.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by James Nadal
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio" CD/LP/Track Review One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Summergold Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Summergold Promises
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017

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!