September 2007


Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra featuring Carla Bley
at the Guelph Jazz Festival
September 8, 2007 River Run Centre Guelph
Not In Our Name
by Laila Boulos (photo of Carla Bley taken in June 2007 by Roger Humbert)
Known for performing politically radical protest songs, Haden opened the evening with a display of each of his albums and announced under which president they appeared. As mentioned in this year's Guelph Jazz Festival brochure, "With the 2005 recording, Not In Our Name (Verve), Haden and the LMO counter the pervasive logic that to oppose the actions of those in power and in government is proof that one is unpatriotic."

Carla Bley's arrangements have always been enviable and Mr. Haden opened the evening announcing that the arrangements were attributed to her gifted artistry. The orchestra's eerie rendition of Pat Metheny's "This Is Not America" (from the film The Falcon and the Snowman) opened the set. Bley's feather-light solo introduction to this piece alone, was worth the price of admission! At one point, only the piano, tuba, bass and drums were playing, adding to the scarce eeriness. The message was clear.

Throughout the performance, the band members in this 12-piece ensemble would either retreat to the back of the stage or leave altogether when they were not playing. Although at times a bit distracting, visually, this added to the stripped down effect.

They played a number of versions, throughout the set, of "America The Beautiful", each becoming more slow-paced and haunting. In one version, beginning with a militaristic march, the power erupted into a gorgeous trumpet solo.

Their version of "Amazing Grace", although performed flawlessly, was given the texture of a drunken bourbon choir slowly losing control. Accentuating the rhythm was Steve Cardenas, electrifying on guitar with Haden moving in to solemnly steer the song out.

Two songs were played for the encore, the last of which was Haden's stunning, slow and meditative solo version of "America The Beautiful". The concert, as announced by Charlie Haden, was dedicated to peace and he was, of course, responded to with cheering and thunderous applause.

Carla Bley – June 2007
The Liberation Music Orchestra
Charlie Haden, bass/leader; Carla Bley, piano
Seneca Black, trumpet; Steve Cardenas, guitar; Vincent Chancey, French horn
Chris Cheek, tenor sax; Joe Daley, tuba; Curtis Fowlkes, trombone; Tony Malaby, tenor sax
Michael Rodriguez, trumpet; Matt Wilson, drums; Miguel Zenon, alto sax
We welcome your comments and feedback
Laila Boulos
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