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Morning Explorations: Charlie Haden, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Dorham and Theo Croker!

NocturneSo on this beautiful Sunday morning, let’s explore the jazz that has been playing on the iPhone this week. I’ve listened to mainly four albums this week. Here’s a twelve track playlist with tracks from each of the albums and some comments…..

Nocturne – Charlie Haden – the jazz world is still mourning the loss one of its bright lights in bassist Charlie Haden. Charlie passed away on July 11th.

Last week on a visit to the library, I picked up three books on Jazz. Among the ones I check ed out was The New York Time Essential Library: Jazz – A Critics Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings. by Ben Ratliff. Ratliff has been a jazz and pop critic with the Times since 1996.  The book lists the album Nocturne as No 99. (I started reviewing the book at the end and will be working my way through the book in that direction, saving the best for last)   The album is the second album that Haden recorded with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the album won a Grammy in 2002. The album also features a stellar cast including Ignacio Berroa on drums, Frederico Ruiz on violin,  Joe Lovano and David Sanchez on tenor saxophone and Pat Metheny on guitar.

The album contains a variety of beautiful, slow and quiet song  composed by several Latin masters, including the three tracks that are on the playlist: “Noche de ronda” by Maria Teresa Lara. “No Te Empenes Mas” Martha Valdes and “Tre Palabras” Osvaldo Farres.

Overall, it is  great album for relaxing or in my case to be on in the background while reading and writing!

Inner Voyage – Gonzalo Rubalcaba –  I listened to this album released in 1999 and also his 1991 release The Blessing. Inner Voyage is a quiet album much like Nocturne, while The Blessing has more of the explosiveness that Rubalcaba was known for in his early recordings.  Overall I like the explosiveness more!  I’m listening now to 1991’s Discovery:Live at Montreaux! Seems like this early albums are going to be explored in more depth!!

Jazz Contrasts – Kenny Dorham  – I choose this album because it was produced by Orrin Keepnews and eventually I am going to do a post on jazz producers. But  for now it introduces me to another trumpeter that I was unfamiliar with. After listening to this album  though, I think I will be exploring Dorham in a little more depth!!

The album only contains six songs, which means that on this playlist you get to listen to half of the album. The tracks I included on the playlist are : “But Beautiful”, “My Old Flame” and “LaVilla”. ”  “But Beautiful” really spotlights Dorham and harpist Betty Glauman  with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Max Roach moving to the background. The same group plays on “My Old Flame” and “Lavilla” but without harpist Glauman.

The last album Afrophysicist from trumpeter Theo Croker  is the most current of the albums. The album is number 5 on the July 21st JazzWeek charts after peaking last week at number 3. I’m not going to write much about this album, yet, besides that it is really good and will be the subject of a future post!!

Anyway, here is the playlist – enjoy your Sunday morning!