Jazz CD Reviews
Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra – Not In Our Name – Verve
Published on December 18, 2005
This album will seem familiar to many jazz lovers. It is unfortunate that events have made it necessary to have another Liberation Music album on a similar theme 36 years after the first one was recorded during the Vietnam War. Charlie Haden says in his liner notes “The issues remain, and our opposition to the inhumane treatment of this universe remains…What is important is that we choose to express our concerns when the circumstances warrant it, and our natural mode of expression is music.” The CD title comes from the band wanting the world to know that the actions of the present administration are “Not In Our Name.”
Carla Bley has done some more of her amazing arrangements for this album and the dozen top musicians – led by Haden on bass and Bley on piano and conducting – play their hearts out. The recordings were made at studios in France and Italy while the band was on tour and are excellent. Bley’s America the Beautiful Medley is at the center of the program and the longest work. Most of the eight tracks are around either patriotic themes or basic Americana with spiritual qualities such as Amazing Grace and Dvorak’s “Goin’ Home.” Either Seneca Black or Michael Rodriguez has a moving trumpet solo in the Dvorak. The extremely elegiac Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber is the closer; it seems to be a funeral dirge for all those who have died in Iraq – and not just our soldiers. Occasionally Bley’s voicings for the band make it sound like a little revolutionary marching band in some South American country, and I’m sure that is quite intentional.
Tracks: Not In Our Name, This Is Not America, Blue Anthem, America the Beautiful Medley, Amazing Grace, Goin’ Home, Throughout, Adagio for Strings
– John Henry