Liberation Music Orchestra came together in 1969 under the direction of Charlie Haden, inspired by songs of the Spanish Civil War, playing music arranged by Carla Bley in protest at the American war in Vietnam. This recording is of a concert in 2004 at the Jazz in Marciac festival in southwest France. The list of songs might appear elegiac but they’re full of fire and celebration – America The Beautiful (Traditional), Throughout (Bill Frisell), Amazing Grace (Traditional), This Is Not America (Pat Metheny), Going Home (Traditional), Adagio (Samuel Barber). They’re performing tonight at the Cadogan Hall, sadly without Charlie Haden, but very much in his name. I think there’ll be a lot of love for Charlie, and for Carla, and maybe too there’ll be some in memory of America.
Don Cherry would have been 80 today. I can’t let it pass without posting a little tribute. This film was recorded live at the Empire Theatre, Paris in 1979. Don plays doussn’gouni, pocket trumpet, piano, and he also sings. I’m not sure who the other musicians are but I recognise Trilok Gurtu on drums. It’s a wonderful performance. Don was always my favourite. Handmade and heartfelt music was his speciality. It seems now we need his healing spirit more than ever.
He never worried. About anything. Ever. It was amazing. If he saw someone else worrying, even a total stranger, he’d try to cheer them up. Tell them jokes. He was always raising people’s spirits, encouraging them. – Charlie Haden
Happy House: Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell
When we drove to Italy last summer I thought our journey should have an Italian soundtrack, so I loaded the car with all the Italian music I could find. It was a mixed bag, some of it dubiously Italian. There was Louis Prima’s Just A Gigolo; a Christmas album of Vivaldi, Corelli and Scarlatti; Monteverdi’s Vespers with Jordi Savall; Stefano Scodanibbio’s Reinventions; the soundtrack album from La Grande Bellezza; Mike Westbrook’s Rossini; Spaccanapoli, Lost Souls; Ernst Reiseger + Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei, Colla Voche; Orchestra Jazz Siciliana Plays The Music Of Carla Bley.
But unfortunately none of it was road trip music. Don Cherry Quartet Live In Nervi 1979 was the best. Not really Italian music but recorded there. This quartet were also known as Old And New Dreams. They’d all previously played alongside Ornette Coleman and together they reinterpreted his music. Happy House is one of their best and it kept us on the right track.
I first knew Charlie Haden from his Liberation Music Orchestra in 1970. It still stands as my favourite album. I later discovered his work with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Alice Coltrane, Bill Frisell, Geri Allen… He stood as a signpost to some of the best music of the past 50 years. His death last Friday from post-polio syndrome is a sad loss of a truly great artist. There’s a beautiful reminder of him here, but the best way to know Charlie is to listen to his music…
I got this from Richard Williams. I couldn’t resist reframing it here. A short promotional video for an album of beautiful close harmony singing by The Haden Triplets – that could only be achieved from sharing a lifetime of sisterly togetherness and a near psychic vocal interplay that can only come from being born mere seconds apart from each other. Their father is Charlie Haden and the record is produced by Ry Cooder, two of my all time musical heroes, and this trio are pretty good too. Get the full story from Richard’s blog, thebluemoment, where he tells it much better than I ever could.
This is a short trailer for the film Sounds And Silence from 2009. It is subtitled Travels With Manfred Eicher and it tells the story of his record label, Editions of Contemporary Music, following him over five years as he records musicians around the world. I discovered it thanks to Richard Williams via his very welcome new blog, The Blue Moment where he’s written about the exhibition ECM: A Cultural Archaeology, until recently at the Haus der Kunst in Munich. Continue reading “Sounds And Silence”
I only just heard of his death. I wasn’t paying attention. 1931-2011. I first heard him with Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden. His way of playing was unique. Such a sad loss. I can’t write an obituary but there are many on the internet, here’s one at the Guardian. I heard the news from Bill Frisell.
This is one of my favourite pieces. He dances on the drum kit.