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Album Review

This overly long quartet-plus-strings session is Charlie Haden's paean to an ideal America, made during a time that was ripe for such reflections. The band, with Haden on bass, Michael Brecker on tenor, Brad Mehldau on piano, and Brian Blade on drums, is unassailably strong. But listeners could have lived without the ear-candy sheen provided by the 34-piece orchestra, arranged primarily by Alan Broadbent, with additional contributions from Jeremy Lubbock and Vince Mendoza. (Broadbent and Mendoza also penned charts for Jane Monheit's In the Sun, released two weeks earlier.) Aside from outright banalities like "America the Beautiful" and "It Might Be You" (yes, the Stephen Bishop lite-radio hit), there are some saving graces, like Keith Jarrett's "Prism" and "No Lonely Nights," Mehldau's "Ron's Place," and Haden's two originals, "American Dreams" and "Nightfall." But Pat Metheny's "Travels" goes soggy without its Midwestern guitar twang, and Ornette Coleman's "Bird Food," one of only three tracks not to feature the orchestra, is so wildly out of place that its impact is somehow diminished — notwithstanding a vivid pedal-point interlude about six minutes in. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Customer Reviews

American Dreams

An ambitious effort of trying to add strings and jazz in sometimes uninspired settings. The Cd is uneven and choice of covers are unusual, but this moody and smooth attempt can draw in the listener to an interresting but different jazz experrience. The highlight of the CD is American Dreams and it should be downloaded if you have any interrest in Haden's work.

Expectations can be a kill joy!

Charlie Haden has a long history of being highly interpretive and succesfully communicating those interpretations through his concepts and recordings. Liberation Music Orchestra anyone! If you are looking for "Quartet West" you won't find it here. However, to say that pop song re-makes and string arrangements don't belong in a Jazz record is completely ridiculous. Especially when the concept is to embody the American experience through music as seen and heard by Charlie Haden. Claus Ogerman seemed to incorporate strings in Jazz quite well and so has Charlie Haden. Solid arrangements and a solid concept. Good Job Charlie!

Biography

Born: August 6, 1937 in Shenandoah, IA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a member of saxophonist Ornette Coleman's early bands, bassist Charlie Haden became known as one of free jazz's founding fathers. Haden never settled into any of jazz's many stylistic niches, however. Certainly he played his share of dissonant music — in the '60 and '70s, as a sideman with Coleman and Keith Jarrett, and as a leader of the Liberation Music Orchestra, for instance — but for the most part, he seemed drawn to consonance. Witness his trio with saxophonist Jan Garbarek and...
Full Bio
American Dreams, Charlie Haden
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