Bassist Charlie Haden was an integral part of Ornette Coleman
's pioneering avant-garde groups in the '50s and '60s and led his own equally forward-thinking Liberation Music Orchestra. His ensemble Quartet West, with tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts
, drummer Larance Marable, and pianist Alan Broadbent
, revealed a sentimental side of his musical personality that surprised many. This recording, with string arrangements by Broadbent, sounds like a soundtrack to a Raymond Chandler film as Haden's sturdy bass tones make him a worthy supporting actor. But although Shirley Horn
's ethereal voice sparkles on "Lonely Town," "In Love in Vain," and "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life," and crooner Bill Henderson's towering pipes are radiant on "Why Did I Choose You," "Ruth's Waltz," "You My Love," and "Easy on the Heart," all of the material is in pretty much the same ballad tempo, which, compounded by the time length of the CD, robs it of the romantic resonance it could truly shine on the listener. --Eugene Holley Jr.