[JPL] soloists with LMO?

Ed Trefzger ed.trefzger at jazzweek.com
Tue Nov 22 21:27:07 EST 2005

On Nov 22, 2005, at 9:12 PM, Jim Wilke wrote:

> Anybody have positive identification of the wonderful soloists in  
> Charlie Haden's recent Liberation Music Orchestra CD "Not In Our  
> Name" ?    It'd be nice to credit them, but they're not identified  
> and there are pairs of trumpets and tenors.  The other instruments  
> are all one each.

Here's the text of the bio from the release that I got from the Verve  
extranet.  It mentions soloists, so perhaps it will answer some of  
your questions:

Charlie Haden

Not In Our Name

In the midst of a fragile, post-9/11 atmosphere, legendary bassist- 
composer-bandleader Charlie Haden was inspired to create his  
meditative American Dreams as a kind of healing balm for a shattered  
national psyche. As he wrote in the liner notes of that majestic 2002  
symphonic offering: "I always dreamed of a world without cruelty and  
greed, of a humanity with the same creative brilliance of our solar  
system, of an America worthy of the dreams of Martin Luther King, and  
the majesty of the Statue of Liberty...This music is dedicated to  
those who still dream of a society with compassion, deep creative  
intelligence, and a respect for the preciousness of life -- for our  
children, and for our future."

Two years later, in the aftermath of the 2004 presidential election,  
Haden was inspired to speak out this time using the Liberation Music  
Orchestra to articulate his concerns. Not In Our Name, the title of  
this new cd, stands as a musical manifesto for the disaffection many  
people in America and all over the world feel about the manner in  
which the present administration is conducting its affairs both at  
home and in the global arena.  The material on Not In Our Name comes  
strictly from American composers. As Haden explained, "There was a  
necessity that I felt to play music from American composers in  
protest to what's going on, to make a statement that just because  
you're not for everything that this administration is doing, doesn't  
mean that you're not patriotic. So I wanted to do 'America the  
Beautiful' to show everybody that there's a lot of work that needs to  
be done here in this country. And inside that song, Carla put the  
African-American anthem 'Lift Every Voice And Sing.' and Ornette  
Coleman's provocative "Skies Over America" (the title track of  
Coleman's first recorded orchestral symphonic work from 1972). And  
then there is a Pat Metheny song that I've always liked, which he  
wrote for the movie, The Falcon and the Snowman. At the end of the  
movie they do this song with David Bowie singing called 'This Is Not  
America.' We do 'Amazing Grace,' Dvorak's 'Goin' Home, which is from  
his New World Symphony. And we also do 'Throughout,' which is a Bill  
Frisell song that my daughter Petra did with Bill on a duet record  
that they did (2003's Petra Haden & Bill Frisell on True North). When  
I heard it I really loved it and wanted to put it on the record. We  
also do 'Adagio for Strings' by Samuel Barber, put to a chamber  
orchestra, which I always wanted to do."

This fourth Liberation Music Orchestra recording reunites Haden with  
his longtime friend and colleague Carla Bley. Recorded in Rome last  
summer at the end of a triumphant tour of Europe, Not In Our Name,  
produced by Haden, Bley and Haden's wife Ruth Cameron, features a  
Liberation Music Orchestra lineup comprised of seasoned LMO veterans  
like French horn player Ahnee Sharon Freeman and tuba ace Joe Daley  
along with newcomers like trumpeter Michael Rodriguez and alto  
saxophonist Miguel Zenon (both of whom played on Haden's Grammy Award- 
winning Land of the Sun last year), tenor saxophonists Chris Cheek  
and Tony Malaby, trumpeter Seneca Black, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes,  
guitarist Steve Cardenas and drummer Matt Wilson.

Haden says that the genesis for the title of this latest Liberation  
Music Orchestra project happened two years ago when he was on tour in  
Europe with guitarist Pat Metheny, performing music from their 1996  
Verve collaboration, Beyond the Missouri Sky. "I noticed when we were  
walking around in Italy and Spain that there were banners unfurled  
from different balconies of apartment buildings that said, 'Not in  
Our Name,'" recalls Haden. "That's the first time I had seen that  
slogan before, and that really impressed me...that the people in the  
apartments would do that. And then this past summer when we were on  
tour in Europe with the Liberation Music Orchesta, Miguel Zenon came  
up to me at some point and said, 'Man, I just had this dream last  
night that you should call your song 'Not In Our Name.' And I thought  
that it was a great idea to also call the album that as well."

Bley's brilliant arrangements underscore pieces by Antonin Dvorak  
("Goin' Home" from the New World Symphony), Samuel Barber (a gorgeous  
chamber rendition of "Adagio For Strings"), Bill Frisell (an  
adaptation of Bill's lyrical gem "Throughout" from his 1982 debut on  
ECM, In Line) and Pat Metheny (a reggaefied feel on the pensive "This  
Is Not America," with sly quotes from "Dixie," "The Star Spangled  
Banner" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" dropped in for ironic  
effect). Elsewhere, Bley's singular arranging skills enhance Haden's  
poignant waltz-time title track and her own dark, dirge-like "Blue  
Anthem," as well as adding layers of texture and mystique to a  
stirring interpretation of the traditional gospel number "Amazing  
Grace" and a potent, 17-minute medley of "America The Beautiful".

Haden writes in his liner notes to Not In Our Name", "the beautiful  
arrangements and performance of Carla Bley are to be marveled at."  
Her use of dissonant, minor key voicings in the horns on "America The  
Beautiful," for example, adds layers of innuendo and irony to that  
staid patriotic theme. Throughout Not In Our Name, Bley's subtle  
tweaking of harmonies sets an appropriately pointed tone for what is  
essentially a jazz protest record. "Carla is something else!" says  
Haden. "She voices her chords so special, I can tell in a minute that  
it's her. She's the person that I really trust to do the arrangements  
for the orchestra. She's done the arranging on every record and I've  
never, ever been disappointed."

Aside from creating beautiful arrangements for all the pieces on Not  
In Our Name, Bley takes us to the Church with her piano playing on  
'America The Beautiful,' though Haden admits, "I always have tried to  
get Carla to play more piano but she's very shy. She doesn't want to  
play that often and I keep encouraging her because when she does  
play, it's so great, man. She really opened up on that tour we did  
last summer, especially when we did 'We Shall Overcome' as a blues!"

Bley's slow-moving, gospel-inflected arrangement of "Amazing Grace"  
serves as a perfect vehicle for Haden's signature deep-toned bass  
solo, while her luminous interpretation of Dvorak's "Goin' Home"  
provides a beautiful showcase for trumpeter Rodriguez's golden tone  
and soulful restraint and also for alto saxophonist Zenon's pungent  
tone and fluent lines. "Michael has this sound on the trumpet that  
you don't hear much today," says Haden. "He's got this really Chet  
Baker-Fats Navarro sound. It's more gentle, soft...gorgeous. On that  
Dvorak piece, 'Goin' Home,' he gets this beautiful breathy sound that  
Chet and Fats used to get, and Miles too. And it's rare when you  
combine that with the gift of improvisation. The guy is so  
spontaneous and gifted at creating these beautiful melodies. Miguel,  
of course, I had played with on Land of the Sun. I called him to do  
that record because I had heard him play over in Europe and he really  
impressed me."

On "Throughout," the sparseness of Bley's own piano playing blends  
with Cardenas' arpeggiated figures on nylon string guitar, bringing a  
rare delicacy to that poignant Frisell piece. Haden contributes  
another resounding low-end solo here while the piece also provides a  
perfect example of the two distinctly different solo approaches taken  
by tenor saxophonists Cheeks and Malaby. "Tony and Chris I had heard  
before playing with Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band. They have two  
very different ways of approaching the music, but both of which are  
brand new. They're searching for new intervals, new melodies, which  
is something I strive for and always have and always will. So these  
guys really impressed me by having very distinctive sounds. That's  
another secret of this artform, if you're dedicated to it, is  
discovering how to get your sound through the instrument the way your  
ears are really hearing it. And that's what they all do. You can  
really hear the difference between Tony and Chris when they play  
their separate solos on the Bill Frisell song. It's just amazing."

On the closer, Barber's hymn-like "Adagio," the LMO strikes an  
uncommon balance between delicacy and emotional power, just as the  
LMO had some 17 years earlier on Haden's own fragile opus,  
"Silence" (from 1982's Ballad of the Fallen). "I was a little bit  
afraid of the 'Adagio'," admits Haden, "because Samuel Barber's  
composition with string orchestra is so delicate that you really have  
to play it precisely and in tune. But everybody did great. And the  
arrangement is so great. It's in all different time signatures. Carla  
makes it happen, man. She is a great conductor."

Grounding this edition of the Liberation Music Orchestra with a deft,  
eminently musical touch on the kit is drummer Matt Wilson "I had met  
Matt in Norway at the festival in Molda when I was working there with  
Pat Metheny," recalls Haden. "Actually, he had called me right before  
that festival and said, 'Charlie, you don't know me. My name is Matt  
Wilson. I know you and I love your music and all the stuff that you  
do with Dewey. I play a lot with Dewey, who gave me your number.  
Anyway, my wife's about to have triplets. I just wanted to ask your  
advice.' So that cracked me up. And I just told him, 'Man, be  
prepared for a trip!' I had a chance to play with him a couple of  
times after that (including at the San Francisco Jazz Festival a  
couple of years ago). I'm really glad he could make this tour with  
Liberation Music Orchestra because he really propels that band."

"The key to everything to me is the power behind every note you  
play," he continues. "And that power can be quiet power. And it also  
is a dynamic tone. It's just the way you touch your instrument,  
whether it be keyboard or the drums or the bass or the horns. This  
power gives you an assuredness and you can instantly hear it when  
someone's playing music with this quality...that they're very sure of  
why they're playing music. And every phrase that they play is coming  
from that. And that's the way that Matt plays the drums. I've played  
different concerts with different drummers and the real musical ones  
have this ability. And Matt does."

As a musical statement, Not In Our Name is a profoundly moving and  
beautiful collection of tunes, full of exhilarating ensemble work and  
bristling, emotive solos by some outstanding musicians on the New  
York scene. As a political statement, it stands as Haden's rallying  
cry against an administration that would subvert the greater good of  
the country. As he writes in the album's liner notes: "So now,  
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!"

In a career spanning five decades, Haden continues to create music  
that is at once revolutionary and uplifting. "I want to expand jazz,"  
he says. "I don't want to keep the audience limited. I want to reach  
people who have never come to a jazz concert before. One way to do  
that is by making records that have a lot of different kinds of music  
on them."

He succeeds royally with Not In Our Name.

* * * * *

Born in Shenandoah, Iowa on August 6, 1937, Charles Edward Haden  
began his life in music at the tender age of 22 months, singing on  
his parents' country & western radio show. He started playing bass in  
his early teens and eventually left America's heartland for Los  
Angeles. "This is the first town that I came to when I left high  
school in Missouri," he recalls. "I came to L.A. just to find Hampton  
Hawes. And when I got here in 1956, there were a lot of jazz clubs  
and there were a lot of great musicians on the scene. It was a lot  
like New York in that aspect -- lots of after-hours jam sessions, and  
playing as much as you could play. Those were definitely exciting  
times." Along with Hampton Hawes, Haden also played with such jazz  
legends as Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon and Paul Bley before teaming up  
with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer  
Billy Higgins for regular gigs at the Hillcrest Club. In 1959, that  
pioneering quartet came east to New York, secured an extended  
residency at the Five Spot and began recording a series of seminal  
avant garde albums, including The Shape of Jazz to Come and Change of  
the Century, which revolutionized the course of modern jazz. In  
addition to his hugely influential work with Ornette Coleman through  
the '60s, Haden subsequently collaborated with a number of  
adventurous jazz giants, including John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane,  
Archie Shepp and Roswell Rudd.

In 1969, Haden joined forces with pianist/composer Carla Bley,  
founding the Liberation Music Orchestra. The group's self-titled  
debut is a true milestone of modern music, blending experimental big  
band jazz with the folk songs of the Spanish Civil War to create a  
powerfully original work of musical/political activism. From  
1967-1976, Haden played in Keith Jarrett's stellar trio, quartet and  
quintet which included drummer Paul Motian, percussionist Guilherme  
Franco and tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. In 1976, he joined with  
fellow Ornette Coleman alumni Don Cherry, Dewey Redman and Ed  
Blackwell to form Old and New Dreams. A few years later he played  
alongside Dewey Redman, Michael Brecker and Jack DeJohnette in Pat  
Metheny's 80/81 band.

In 1982, Haden established the jazz studies program at California  
Institute of the Arts and in 1986 he formed his straight ahead  
Quartet West with saxophonist Ernie Watts, pianist Alan Broadbent and  
drummer Larance Marable. Through the '90s, he continued playing with  
Quartet West and the Liberation Music Orchestra while also producing  
and recording or performing with Pat Metheny, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John  
Scofield, Tom Harrell, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Ginger Baker, Bill  
Frisell, Jack DeJohnette and Michael Brecker. He has garnered  
countless awards and Grammy nominations as well as three Grammy's.  
There have also been a few rare concert reunions with Ornette  
Coleman. More recently, Haden has collaborated with such jazz greats  
as Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Joe Lovano, Alice Coltrane and even  
players outside the jazz genre such as Beck and Ringo Starr. His love  
of world music has also seen him teaming with a variety of diverse  
international players for many years, including Brazilian guitarist  
Egberto Gismonti, Argentinean bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi and  
Portuguese guitarist Carlos Paredes. Charlie Haden is beyond category.

Not In Our Name (B000494902) available on CD August 30, 2005

For more information, contact:
Regina Joskow (212) 331.2021 [regina.joskow at umusic.com]

Don Lucoff (610) 667.0501 [dondlmedia at covad.net]

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