Thursday, March 15, 2012

Charlie Haden - Etudes (Soul Note 1993, 2011)

Veteran bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motion joined up with then precocious newcomer pianist Geri Allen for a rousing set of performances that were near the state of the art for the piano trio playing modern jazz. Broken up by the short "Etudes" and the meditative performance "Silence," comes a rambunctious and frequently thrilling album with a leadoff performance of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" which Haden was intimately familiar with, having played on the original recording. Hearing it scored for a piano trio rather than a piano-less quartet with horns takes the familiar composition in a different and interesting direction. No wonder Allen would go on to be one of the few pianists that Coleman would collaborate with. The angular "Dolphy's Dance" is a fine tribute to the great saxophonist, bass clarinetist and flutist Eric Dolphy. Dolphy had a unique (and controversial at the time) approach to the music that extended the language of Charlie Parker into the next generation. The trio is able to capture that forward thinking spirit on this exciting performance. Also engaging are "Blues in Motian" and the dynamic "Shuffle Montgomery" where Motian's ever-shifting and textural drumming and Haden's rock solid bass engage Allen and bring about a true synthesis of musical performance. The Complete Remastered Recordings -

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