Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Liberation Music Orchestra
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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One of the greats of its era.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 09/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A legendary album and rightfully so, Charlie Haden's 1969 protest piece, "Liberation Music Orchestra", is one of the essential pieces of music of his era. Assembling an extended cast of musicians to support the music with arrangements by the versatile Carla Bley, the music blends free jazz with folk traditions from the United States and Europe. Along the way, a series of fantastic individual performances underscore just how brilliant the record is.
The record, as all LPs were, was originally two sides, and Bley took advantage of this in the arranging, with the two sides being very different-- opening with a passionate theme (titled just "The Introduction") featuring superb alto playing from Dewey Redman-- this quickly descends into the first folk piece, the Eastern European "Song of the United Front" before moving into a medley of Spanish folk forms. Standout performances from guitarist Sam Brown (who is positively brilliant throuhgout the extended suite) and Don Cherry (whose cornet solo is totally brilliant) threaten to hide the brilliant arrangement-- Bley cleverly interweaves Spanish themes over an "oom-pa-pa" beat implying an Eastern European waltz in the middle of the piece-- the effect is nothing short of stunning. Eventually, her introduction is reprised, again performed with enormous passion and power, leaving one having experienced something stunning and noteworthy.
The second side isn't quite as good, admittedly-- without a unified sound, its more of a straight jazz performance-- with two originals by Haden ("Song for Che" and bass feature "Circus 68 69") surrounding an Ornette Coleman composition ("War Orphans") and an interlude composed by Bley. Don't get me wrong-- the performances are great, its just that the first side is so stunning in its genre blending that with the second side being more or less straight free jazz (if such a thing makes sense), its not quite as exciting. Still, standout solos from tenorman Gato Barbieri and Haden himself highlight the Haden originals. "Summer '68 '69" is interesting in that it quotes a couple patriotic pieces throughout while tenorman Gato Barbieri wails away recklessly, Bley slyly phrases "We Shall Overcome" on organ, hinting at the closer. A stunning performance of that folk theme with trombonist Roswell Rudd positively overwhelming, it really is something to hear.
When it's over, you feel like you've experienced something. Not many records can say that. If you don't have this one and you're reading this, you probably should. Essential listening."
This is important and beautiful music
Peter E. Johansen | 03/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard for me to think of an album that moves as fluidly from some very structured moments (arranged by Carla Bley) to what sounds to me to be more-or-less completely free group improvisation. This is music that really travels to some different places, and for what Charlie Haden is doing here he has assembled just about the perfect cast of players, which includes Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri, Dewey Redman, and Paul Motian, just to name a few. But the player who really brings this album together for me is a one I know little about - Sam Brown - on guitar. He plays in a flamenco (and jazz) style that works very well in the context of this incredibly intense music.
The melodies are based on folk songs from the Spanish civil war, and, as explained in the liner notes, the group was assembled in 1970 to protest the Vietnam War. Such a explicitly political message is, I think, rare in jazz, but this music is so powerful it just works. Charlie Haden writes in the liner notes, "The music in this album is dedicated to creating a better world; a world without war and killing, without poverty and exploitation; a world where men of all governments realize the vital importance of life and strive to protect rather than destroy it." It's good to see that Charlie Haden has brought together a new incarnation of this group to protest the foreign policy of George W. Bush. The Liberation Music Orchestra create then and now important music with a timeless message that exists outside mainstream commercial concerns."