Liberation Music Orchestra: Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings)

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COMPOSERS: Various composers
LABELS: Impulse
ALBUM TITLE: Liberation Music Orchestra
WORKS: Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings)
PERFORMER: Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow (bass), Carla Bley (piano), Chris Cheek, Tony Malaby, Loren Stillman (sax) et al
CATALOGUE NO: 479 8480


Double-bassist Charlie Haden founded the Liberation Music Orchestra (LMO) in 1969, when idealism seemed to be on its way out. Over the next 40-plus years his group gained legendary status for turbulent live shows that celebrated political consciousness and social justice. But in all that time they only made four albums, including one live recording, so this valedictory disc is especially welcome. With just two numbers in the can at the time of Haden’s death in July 2014, long-time LMO arranger Carla Bley stepped up to pen startling new arrangements for three of her own compositions.

Recorded the day after Haden’s memorial service in New York, the album’s a magnificent requiem that captures the energy and passion the bassist inspired. From the urbane unfurling of Miles Davis’s ‘Blue In Green’ through the brooding ‘Silent Spring’ to the howling arco bass abstraction of ‘Song For The Whales’, Haden’s message seems more important today than ever.

Garry Booth


Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.