Four and a half BEAUTIFUL Stars! Two jazz icons join forces once again to present sweet, swinging, spiritual music! Jazz bass virtuoso/leader Charlie Haden, (trailblazer with Ornette, leader of the Liberation Music Orchestra, Quartet West, and countless duos and trios) has been recording at a fast pace in the past two decades, as much as jazz piano virtuoso Hank Jones, (brother of Thad and Elvin, associate of Miles, Cannonball, Ella, and a galaxy of others) did in his early career where he appeared on dozens of albums (of the reported 60 recordings under his own name) and seemed to be everywhere. This sadly is one of Mr Jones' final recorded appearances, where the focus is completely on two excellent musicians playing beautiful music: traditional old-time religious spirituals, Christmas carols, a jazz classic, and a folk melody: all delivered with elegance, respect for the melody, and brevity. it is a follow-on recording to their excellent Steal Away: Spirituals Hymns & Folk Songs which was recorded over 15 years ago. From the simplistic beauty of "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", to faster tempos like "Down By The Riverside" with Haden's walking bass underpinning Jones' fleet improvisation to an ethereal "Going Home" (that my mother and her fellow students sang leaving grade school classes for the day), this is elegant, swinging music. And add in Duke Ellington's lovely, powerful spiritual "Come Sunday" as the icing on the cake. Perfect for early morning, late at night, or anytime between when you need some peace. Another great musician left the bandstand when Hank Jones passed at 91. Highly Recommended. Four and a half TRANQUIL Stars (This review is based on an mp3 download of 15 tracks; Time ~47 minutes)
on 8 May 2014
After the Long Ryders broke up I worked at the Rhino Records store in West Los Angeles and Charlie Haden came in as a customer every once in a while. As many famous musicians did pop in the store I never made a big deal out of it but other clerks did and I now see why.
It may have taken me over twenty years but I now "get" Charlie Haden. His jazz stuff may be a bridge too far for me but by God any Kentuckian who cannot get into this Iowa dude's bass and Hank Jones uber-sensitive piano on these glorious old chestnuts is a corpse for sure. Heart, soul, feeling, spirit...whatever you call it this album has it. Missed church last Sunday? Check this out. Want to be spiritual without joining up with formal religious practise? Check this out.
If God collects music he has this album, Kind Of Blue and Pet Sounds for sure. I didn't give it five stars because I am not sure the cover fits the cake but it is a fine slab of tunes, oh yeah.
on 10 October 2014
Beautiful playing; warm and faithful interpretations of well known but seldom heard hymns and sacred pieces. Having read a review in Jazz Monthly, I bought this together with the earlier Steal Away and I'm glad I did. Although there are obvious similarities, given the subject and the limitations placed on two musicians, that should not put anyone off listening to both albums. These are wonderful examples of two superb musicians playing almost as one. They know each other and both experienced the music throughout their lives and it shows in every track. The recent sad news of Charlie Haden's death is a great loss to Jazz.
on 20 December 2012
This is a beautiful album, of nostalgic music for Charlie Haden, and the feeling of spirituality is easy to appreciate. These are wonderful hymn tunes, with a jazzy touch, meaning real feeling and appropriate improvisation rather than "jazzing them up". I also remember many of these tunes, and how brilliant to hear Charlie and Hank playing them.