Week ending 25 January 2020: some old CJ favourites

This week’s Cosmic Jazz is another pre-recorded show with some classic favourites. We began with the late Charlie Haden, bass player with Ornette Coleman but blessed with a unique sound that was used across hundreds of recordings.  Haden was among several bass players who liberated the instrument from its role as a keeper of rhythm but he also ensured that melody and harmony remained essential components of his sound. He was also part of Keith Jarrett’s American quartet but we featured a track from his band the Liberation Music Orchestra (LMO) which he founded in 1969, exploring more experimental and overtly political themes. The original lineup consisted of Haden and Carla Bley, but also included Gato Barbieri, Dewey Redman, Paul Motian and Don Cherry – a very starry array. Haden formed the LMO at the height of the Vietnam War, out of his frustration with US government policies. Haden’s goal was to use the LMO to amplify unheard voices of oppressed people, and to express his solidarity with progressive political movements from around the world. In each subsequent recording he continued to do this.  We’d recommend them all. For a different kind of Haden, try his recording with guitarist Pat Metheny which features a beautiful version of the Jimmy Webb ballad, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

One of the elder statesmen of jazz is saxophonist Charles Lloyd, still recording and performing at the age of 81. In 1966, he recorded the album Dream Weaver with his quartet – Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. As Thom Jurek notes in his Allmusic review, this is a fully realized project by a band — a real band — in which each member has a unique part of the whole to contribute. Keith Jarrett piano style sounds as if it should be at odds with Lloyd’s lyrical approach on tenor – but it isn’t. And we shouldn’t forget the sterling contributions of McBee and DeJohnette who play around with the modal basis of this extended track – what a quartet this was! Lloyd went on to record a series of albums for Manfred Eicher on the ECM label – all of which are worth exploring. One of our long time favourites is the live album Rabo de Nube but listeners new to Lloyd could start with any of these. One of my favourites is Mirror from 2010 which includes a version of Brian Wilson’s Caroline, No.

The Elder Statesman is a project from New Zealander Lord Echo and the double sided single release Montreux Sunrise/Trans-Alpine Express. We love both of these tracks and Lord Echo’s solo releases too. Try the excellent third album Harmonies – all are available here on Bandcamp.

Quarteto Novo featured Hermeto Pascoal and Airto Moreira and we have loved their eponymous 1967 album from which the track Misturada comes. It’s a tune that has been recorded by many artists but here’s Moreira revisiting the tune in a live performance from earlier this year.

Singer Carmen Lundy is another longtime favourite of the show. Other than online, her music doesn’t seem to be widely available but she is currently in a late career revival, recording a string of excellent albums including Changes from 2012. Lundy’s albums are full of her own compositions – and this album is no exception. Any of her recent recordings are worth investigating including the excellent Code Noir which features a stellar lineup of Patrice Rushen on piano, Jeff Parker on guitar,  Ben Williams on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Here’s the track Keep Falling

We ended the show this week with a nod to last week’s Japanese jazz show. Hiromi is something of a keyboard prodigy and her album Brain from 2004 is a good example of her reworking of traditional piano trio styles. Anthony Jackson features on bass with Slovakian Martin Valihora on drums.

  1. Charlie Haden – El Quinto Regimento from Liberation Music Orchestra
  2. Charles Lloyd Quartet – Autumn Sequence from Dream Weaver
  3. The Elder Statesman – Montreux Sunrise from 7”
  4. Quarteto Novo – Misturada from Quarteto Novo
  5. Carmen Lundy – Dance the Dance from Changes
  6. Hiromi – If from Brain

Neil is listening to…

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