Charlie Haden



Legendary bassist Charlie Haden has come to symbolise the notions of 'freedom' and 'liberation' and it seems only fitting that he be credited with unleashing the prodigious talents of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba on the world.

The pair combine again on this stylishly reflective set that revisits the Cuban bolero tradition which was born in the 1870s and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Mexico City before it reached New Orleans, where it became a crucial ingredient in the early days of jazz.

As the sleeve notes reveal: 'When Sarah Vaughan recorded What A Difference A Day Makes in the 50s, she was singing a bolero by Maria Greever, a Mexican, called Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado.'

Unlike Ravel's famous reading of the style - balladesque drama built on strict rhythmic structure - Haden works from within to deliver a highly improvisational suite of bittersweet, lilting melodies.

Haden contributes two of his own compositions (Moonlight and Nightfall) and Rubalcaba one (Transperance), while drummer Ignacio Berroa completes the core trio, augmented by guest spots from gifted tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Sanchez and the violin of Federico Britos Ruiz. Guitar maestro Pat Metheny appears on the one hauntingly beautiful track, Nocha De Ronda.

This is not music to get feet tapping, but there's a deeply romantic atmosphere throughout. It's candlelit-dinner material, but is done in the best possible taste. Bon appetit.