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: tambourine; Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby: tenor sax; Miguel Zenon: alto sax; Michael Rodriguez and Seneca Black: trumpet; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Ahnee Sharon Freeman: French horn; Joe Daley: tuba; Steve Cardenas: guitar; Matt Wilson: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Canvas
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Don't Try You Are" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Try You Are
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Some Morning" CD/LP/Track Review Some Morning
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: March 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!