COMPOSERS: Charlie Haden,QUARTET WEST
PERFORMER: Cassandra Wilson, Melody Gardot etc (vocals), Charlie Haden (bass), Ernie Watts (saxophone), Alan Broadbent (piano), Rodney Green (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 275 0816
Double bassist Charlie Haden has a soft spot for sophisticated ladies. His covers of old movie music, lovingly rendered by the long running Quartet West project, usually feature dubs of the long-gone big band era vocalists. But in this latest, luscious production, contemporary jazz divas Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, Norah Jones, Renée Fleming (yes, her) and Ruth Cameron give their own elegant readings of half-forgotten, bruised but beautiful, tin pan alley tunes.
Broadbent’s string arrangements are subtle and sublime while Ernie Watts’s tenor sax, with its careworn vocal sound, clings to the melodies. But it is Haden’s deep grained bass notes that set the scenes, conjuring gorgeous film noir images of love and loss in LA. If there was a scientific measure of jazz sophistication it would surely be called the Haden Scale, where the American bass player’s music represented the absolute. Garry Booth