In 2011, bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Carla Bley led an iteration of the Liberation Music Orchestra in a live concert at the Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. It was partially intended as a warm-up for a forthcoming Liberation Music Orchestra album, a process that had been in the works since 2007. Sadly, Haden died from post-polio syndrome in 2014 before any new LMO tracks could be recorded. Thankfully, Haden, along with his wife, Ruth Cameron Haden, and Bley had discussed his desires for how to finish the album prior to his passing. Furthermore, the 2011 performance, which included two new arrangements earmarked for the planned album, had been recorded for Belgian public radio. All this meant that an album was possible, and in 2015 Bley convened the LMO in a studio to record the new material. Per Haden's request, longtime friend and esteemed bassist Steve Swallow was brought in to play his parts.
One of the outlets for bassist Charlie Haden's multifarious musical interests is the politically charged, progressive Liberation Music Orchestra. In July 1992, the Orchestra - a powerhouse of some of the top names in jazz - brought the collaborative sound of their album Dream Keeper to the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The African National Congress anthem, 'Nkosi Sikelel'I Afrika,' opens the program and sets the tone, with a blistering solo from the alto sax of Makanda Ken McIntyre and a more reflective one by tenor giant Joe Lovano.
A legendary album and rightfully so, Charlie Haden's 1969 protest piece, "Liberation Music Orchestra", is one of the essential pieces of music of his era. Assembling an extended cast of musicians to support the music with arrangements by the versatile Carla Bley, the music blends free jazz with folk traditions from the United States and Europe. Along the way, a series of fantastic individual performances underscore just how brilliant the record is.
Sometimes it's best not to predict. If the idea of expanding Fire!'s core trio of saxophonist/electric pianist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werlin into Fire! Orchestra's massive, 28-piece behemoth was based on the trio's extant discography— You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago (Rune Grammofon, 2009), Unreleased (Rune Grammofon, 2011), and In the Mouth of a Hand Rune Grammofon, 2012)—then a relentless album of high energy and high volume density would be expected. Which makes Exit! a complete and utter surprise, and in the best possible way.
Originally released in 1980, Dark Room was the fourth album from Australian rock band The Angels. Sometimes known as Angel City or The Angels From Angel City, The Angels were one of the most consistent (and, sadly, consistently overlooked) bands in the Australian rock scene. They had a more melodic sound than AC/DC, and were very influential on American bands like Great White and even Guns n' Roses…