Thursday, September 27, 2012

Charlie Haden & Sonny Fortune

I've added a bunch of music to my station lately, but I haven 't had time to comment.  I'll focus here on two albums.  For some strange reason I didn't get around to acquiring Charlie Haden's Quartet West (1987) until last week.  I have a lot of Haden on various disks, but this one looks to be my new favorite.  The compositions are bold and accessible and exquisitely crafted.  Haden is obviously brilliant on bass.  He shows up on some classic albums such as Lee Konitz's trio disc Alone Together (with Brad Mehldau) and Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories) with Pat Metheny.  That puts him in a special sub-genre of jazz that I do not know how to name.

Quartet West has a lot of that sound but is a more typical bop production.  It is very lyrical and romantic.  If you're in a mood for being in a mood, this is your soundtrack.  I am playing three cuts.  "Hermitage," seems to remind me of Herbie Hancock somehow; not the piano work so much, but the feel of the song.  "The Blessing," an Ornette Coleman composition, hardens the bop by several notches on the dial.  "Bay City," is one of those big romantic indulgences that hard bop jazz men employ to remind you of why it is good to have a heart.  Don't let your collection go without this one.  Here is the lineup:
  1. Charlie Haden (bass)
  2. Ernie Watts (tenor, soprano, and alto saxophone)
  3. Alan Broadbent (piano)
  4. Billy Higgins (drums)
I didn't know Sonny Fortune at all when first listened to Great Friends (1986).  Or so I thought.  This fine alto player is on Mal Waldron's Crowd Scene and The Git-Go, ah, that was Where Are You?, two albums I love (even if I am not sure what their titles are).  This 1986 album is not for your romantic moods so much.  When you need a big charge to you heroism battery, this is your powerhouse.  I am very grateful for this addition to my library.  Here is the lineup from AllMusic:
Recorded on July 7, 1986, at Sysmo Studio in Paris, it is the only recorded output of the aggregation that included alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, Stanley Cowell at the piano, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Billy Hart.
 This is a very fine hard bop document.  You don't want to be without it. I am playing 'Equipoise,' 'Thoughts' and 'Cal Massey'. 

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