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Album Review

Charlie Haden teams up once more with the young Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba for this melancholy, soothing album. Ignacio Berroa, on drums and percussion, completes the core trio. Special guests include tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Sanchez, violinist Federico Britos Ruiz, and guitarist Pat Metheny (one track only). Rubalcaba contributes orchestrations on two cuts, both of which omit drums and percussion. Haden's intention is to explore the bolero, a distinctive Latin dance rhythm that Ignacio Berroa accents with a soft, subtle snare drum roll, played with brushes, beginning on the "and" of the first beat of the bar and ending on the second. This rhythm is perfect for a slow dance, and indeed, the entire album is highly romantic, with bittersweet melodies and lilting cadences. The only problem is that Berroa's bolero figure anchors nearly every track — perhaps what one should expect from a bolero album, but there's no getting around the fact that the music sounds pretty much the same throughout. (To be fair, Berroa isn't solely to blame for the sameness.) Most of the songs, save for two originals by Haden and one by Rubalcaba, are Cuban and Mexican standards, and they're beauties. Haden's reluctance to mess with them is understandable. But the unvaryingly straightforward arrangements fade too easily into the background. Nocturne may well be the best candlelight dinner music ever, but Haden and his guests are capable of more. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Customer Reviews


I have been a Charlie Haden fan for decades, but this is his most haunting and lyrical album by far. It invites euphoric repeat listening; smooth, sultry, smoky meditative authentic Cuban boleros meld seamlessly with Haden"s trademark melodic use of the bass. The genre is totally suited to his instrumental voice - a perfect compliment to Rubalcaba's keyboard magic. Next to his classic Missouri Sky sessions, it is absoultely his finest, most accessible work to date. I lost this CD during a cross-country move and just had to recapture it again on iTunes.

warning: this record may cause you to buy an expensive stereo

I bought this when it came out in 2001 and didn't even own a computer! CDs and vinyl baby. It's strange to think of now but the 5-disc cd player was a real thing for a while there, and after finding its way into my 5-cd changer this disc didn't find its way out again for a long time. Tt\his is a no-brainer 5 star rating. Just dig in and keep listening - it's all there. The only possible (rational) criticism of this record would be that the bolero percussion/drum parts are monotonous. Maybe, on a bad day, but the flip side of that coin is that the nuances are subtle and beautiful beyond words.


The All Music Guide review seems right, but don't let it disuade you. This is a beautiful record.


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 guitarist...
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Nocturne, Charlie Haden
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