Recent listening, current

Saturday, August 10, 2013

122. Charlie Haden / Night and the City (1996)

Night and the City has an extra attraction for me, because I love the film by Jules Dassin. Anyway, they're not related, but it's a great record. It was recorded for Verve at the Iridium in NYC, home to many a great night of live music (see HughGotIt's excellent uploads of the Ed Palermo Big Band for a glimpse of when the tiny room really gets rocking, and also some of Hugh's other great live video work). This time Haden teams up with Kenny Barron on the keys. Their music is elegant and sparse, but not at all vacant. It's reverent of jazz from an earlier era, and even its title recalls a romantic notion of the city as theater of life. Barron's opening "Twilight Song" sets the pace. The tunes are mostly standards, with one original by Haden ("Waltz for Ruth") and Barron's aforementioned "Twilight" being exceptions. "Body and Soul," as if anyone can get away from it, is thoughtful and majestic and makes a perfectly timed appearance midway through the disc. I think the collection is a treat, and each player exercises a remarkable restraint to let the other sing and breathe as needed. It's thick on mood, but not overly heavy, and I highly recommend it.  

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