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Not In Our Name (w/Liberation Music Orchestra)

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 30, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Not In Our Nameis the first new studio recording in 14 years by legendary bassist Charlie Haden with his Liberation Music Orchestra. Recorded in July 2004 after a highly successful European tour. Like their debut album on Impulse (recorded in 1968), this new CD features extraordinary arrangements by Carla Bley who also conducted this 12-piece ensemble. Verve. 2005.

Charlie Haden’s first album as a leader was 1969’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and the bassist has been revisiting the project ever since. The concept of the project is to take a big band and record songs devoted to issues of human rights and political liberation, whether expressed in original compositions or revolutionary anthems from Spain, South Africa and Latin America. Not in Our Name is devoted to American music and current political tensions. Once again, it is arranged by pianist Carla Bley, who initially created the band’s distinctive sound; an impassioned, often dissonant lyricism combining a village brass band, a frequent Spanish tinge, free jazz and folk music. Propelled by drummer Matt Wilson, the band ranges here from classical themes (Barber’s "Adagio for Strings" and Dvorak’s "Goin’ Home") to songs by Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell (his "Throughout" is highlighted by the contrasting tenor saxophones of Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby) to the traditional "Amazing Grace," a feature for Haden’s soulful, melodic bass. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 30, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000A1CS68
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,264 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Juan Mobili on October 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Ever since Haden joined Ornette Coleman to take Jazz into yet a new direction almost forty years ago, his playing and composing has shown the kind of artistic integrity which is far from common these days.

So here he chooses to revive the Liberation Orchestra, along with the great Carla Bley, and delivers another astounding set of tunes that confirms his musical stature.

As far as the new Orchestra is concerned, the playing is tremendous, at once conscious of being an ensemble and blazing through their solos, whether it is Steve Cardenas on guitar, the horn section or Haden himself -precise and poetic, giving the music its hearbeat- every musician contributes to the beauty of these tunes.

As far as the songs, "Not In Our Name," "Throughout," "Amazing Grace" or "Blue Anthem" particularly stand out, yet the whole set is wonderful. Moving music for troubled and sad times from a man who has always understood that an artist is not above his peers nor his moment in history.
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Format: Audio CD
The Vietnam War era was known for its protest music-- musicians from all walks found themselves with a mouthpiece and used it. Remarkably, as the country finds itself in a similar situation, it is far less common to hear recorded anti-war sentiment-- maybe it is the lesson learned from the Dixie Chicks-- being viewed as "unpatriotic" (and these days the government and conservative talking heads use that term to indicate disagreeing with the President) is bad for business-- during Vietnam, pop, rock and folk musicians from the Beach Boys to Neil Young wrote protest pieces-- where are these now?

Thankfully, integrity can still be found in some places. Bassist, bandleader and composer Charlie Haden, together with pianist Carla Bley, has resurrected the Liberation Music Orchestra. A project designed to express distaste in the American government policies-- this new version of the band performs pieces by American composers, voiced and assembled as a statement against the policies of the United States government, and while there's no words to express the message, the music speaks loud and clear.

Opening with a solo classical guitar, it should be clear immediately this is not your everyday jazz album. And while "Not In our Name" moves into a big band arrangement, with horns picking up the theme and powerful solos (most notably from guitarist Steve Cardenas), there's an edge to this not commonly found in music.
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Format: Audio CD
To those of us who can remember the stark foray into the free-jazz orchestrated chaos of the original 1968 LP, (particularly on side 2), this 2004 studio recording, made in Rome during the band's European tour, is a more-controlled and sombre musical commentary on the current war/political scene in America.

Beautifully recorded...On the Barber Adagio, the 5-man (& woman) brass section sounds as full as the Berlin Phil!

Plus some sterling, unidentified trumpet soloing on 'Goin' Home' a tune which sounds completely American Spiritual in origin but is from Dvorak's New World Symphony! (I would have to assume the soloist is Michael Rodriguez as his name is first in the tpt. credits.)

Although you will miss the Latin-styled guitar stylings of Mick Goodrick from the 1968 LP, this release not being a tribute to songs from the Spanish Civil War, there is an undercurrent of excitement generated throughout via the chordings of Carla Bley (impossible to believe she is self-taught!), Charley's thoughtful contributions and especially: The crisp drumming of Matt Wilson!
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Format: Audio CD
Charlie Haden and Carla Bley front a terrific reconstitued Liberation Music Orchestra. Without the late, great Don Cherry the sound could never be the same but Not In Our Name does not try to replicate its first or second reincarnation. Most notable is the lack of Latin sounds which only stand out in the opening title track whereas the first LMO recording and Ballad of the Fallen had a stronger Latin influence. This is not a bad thing by any means as it allows Carla Bley's talent and versitility as an arranger shine through. Her treatment of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings (the most soundtrack-recorded piece of classical music in history)is fresh enough to make it interesting without disrespecting the original genre. Even more compelling and the best piece on the disc is Goin'Home, which despite the title, comes from a Dvorak work.

The only places where Not In Our Name suffers are unfortunately in the middle of the CD. A medley that starts with America the Beautiful is followed by Amazing Grace (which has probably been recorded more than any song in the history of music). Neither of these tracks are are very interesting and while their inclusion makes sense in some contextual way, their sound clunks along like outtakes from Swordfishtrombones.

However, don't be put off by those tracks because 1 through 3 and 6 through 8 are more than forty minutes of the best ensemble jazz your likely to hear. If you find yourself liking this recording you may want to check out Kenny Wheeler's excellent Music for Large and Small Ensembles or any of the incredible Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra recordings.
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