214

Charlie Haden/Liberation Music Orchestra: Not In Our Name

Ken Franckling By

Sign in to view read count
Charlie Haden/Liberation Music Orchestra: Not In Our Name Bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Carla Bley, two of the more eclectic and versatile people in jazz, make a great team as musical conceptualists as a they draw on a shared vision and Bley's knack for sometimes off-kilter large ensemble arranging.

It has been 37 years since Charlie Haden and Carla Bley formed the first edition of Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra at the height of the Vietnam War. This edition launched an international tour in 2004 that began with a stunning performance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and was recorded in Rome three weeks later during the European tour leg. Haden explained the project's purpose in his brief liner notes:

"We want the world to know that the devastation that this administration is wreaking is not in our name. It's not in the name of many people in this country... Our opposition to the inhumane treatment of this universe remains.

While there are brief, cohesive solos scattered throughout the work by most, if not all of the members, it is the ensemble nature of the work that makes it special. While not every tune is an "anthem per se, each of them gets a sweeping anthemic treatment and feel. Haden and Bley each wrote one tune (the title track and "Blue Anthem respectively) and drew the other material from composers ranging from Samuel Barber and Antonin Dvorák to Bill Frisell, Ornette Coleman ("Skies of America ), Gary McFarland, and Pat Metheny, among others.

The title track's chanson allusions and the way in which the Americana-referenced and musically visual Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays/David Bowie composition "This Is Not America segues right into reggae beat bring an international feel to a musical/political statement that indeed is international. "Blue Anthem begins as a soulful dirge, a feeling that Haden enriches with his midpoint bass solo leading into uplifting guitar, brass and piano counterpoint.

The centerpiece is an "America the Beautiful medley that begins with a spirited reinterpretation of the Samuel Ward original, segues into McFarland's reworking of the same tune, while the African-American spiritual "Lift Every Voice and Sing ends it. "Skies of America —opening with a strong drum solo and propelled by the always-creative Matt Wilson—and the traditional "Amazing Grace are also natural fits here, as is the closing elegiac chamber arrangement of "Adagio from Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings.

Whether you agree or disagree with the politics of Bley and Haden, it is hard not to appreciate the depth and breadth of their musicality, and how the LMO brings it all to life. If there were six stars in the ratings, this disc would deserve them.


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

Personnel: Charlie Haden: bass; Carla Bley: piano; Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Chris Cheek: tenor saxophone; Michael Rodriguez: trumpet; Seneca Black: trumpet; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Ahnee Sharon Freeman: french horn; Joe Daley: tuba; Steve Cardenas: guitar; Matt Wilson: drums.

Title: Not In Our Name | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Migration Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Ready Take One" CD/LP/Track Review Ready Take One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "More Essentials" CD/LP/Track Review More Essentials
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Think Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Think Ahead
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 8, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!