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Sophisticated Ladies

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Bassist extraordinaire Charlie Haden has always prized diversity in his music, whether reaching for the outer limits with Ornette Coleman a half-century ago, leading his own experimental Liberation Music Orchestra or, in 2008, celebrating his roots in what's now called Americana on Rambling Boy, a Grammy-nominated album that featured contributions from Elvis Costello, B?la Fleck, and others. As they mark their 25th year together, Haden's Quartet West -- not so much a side trip at this point as a comfy base to occasionally return to -- offers up Sophisticated Ladies, a collection split between collaborations with superstar female vocalists and rich instrumentals, nearly ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Bassist extraordinaire Charlie Haden has always prized diversity in his music, whether reaching for the outer limits with Ornette Coleman a half-century ago, leading his own experimental Liberation Music Orchestra or, in 2008, celebrating his roots in what's now called Americana on Rambling Boy, a Grammy-nominated album that featured contributions from Elvis Costello, Béla Fleck, and others. As they mark their 25th year together, Haden's Quartet West -- not so much a side trip at this point as a comfy base to occasionally return to -- offers up Sophisticated Ladies, a collection split between collaborations with superstar female vocalists and rich instrumentals, nearly all of it heavily orchestrated. The set expands upon the concept Haden first explored in 1999 on The Art of the Song, which utilized vocalists Shirley Horn and Bill Henderson on various film songs and standards. This time, with tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, pianist/arranger Alan Broadbent both mainstays of the quartet, and drummer Rodney Green, Haden goes for a lush, all-embracing sound that suggests a warm, cozy mood that reflects a time -- which may or may not ever have existed -- when life was much less hectic. The recording largely pays tribute to the romantic balladry of the mid-20th century, and Haden's choices of both material and guest artists allow him to bring that concept to fruition gloriously. Diana Krall, leading the back-to-back "Goodbye" and "Wahoo," closes out the album: the first is a whispery take on the Gordon Jenkins number that served as Benny Goodman's theme song, and the latter an uptempo swinger written by Benny Harris. Norah Jones was a natural pick for a set that values classiness and sensuality, and her "Ill Wind," penned by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and arranged by Haden, exudes a smoky nightclub ambience, Broadbent's piano lending a blues touch to Jones' soothing delivery. Cassandra Wilson is another inspired pick, and her interpretation of Johnny Mercer's "My Love and I," bathed in strings and elegance, is a highlight of the set. The album's other vocal performances -- by Melody Gardot, Renée Fleming, and Ruth Cameron -- are also memorable, but not to be overlooked are the non-vocal tracks. Hank Jones' bluesy "Angel Face" is simultaneously sweet and melancholy, while Steve Khun's fiery "Today I Am a Man" is the swingingest number here. And of course, Haden couldn't very well title his album Sophisticated Ladies without including Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," which matches Watts' bold saxophone licks to another luxuriant orchestration. Sophisticated Ladies does fall just short at times of mimicking a brand of saccharine faux-post-big-band jazz that flourished in the '50s and early '60s, but Haden and his team are too masterful to allow their tribute to lose its stylishness and, of course, its sophistication.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/22/2011
  • Label: Emarcy
  • UPC: 602527508160
  • Catalog Number: 001534702
  • Sales rank: 75,427

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 If I'm Lucky - Melody Gardot (5:39)
  2. 2 Sophisticated Ladies (4:28)
  3. 3 Ill Wind - Norah Jones (4:25)
  4. 4 Today I Am a Man (5:23)
  5. 5 My Love and I (4:14)
  6. 6 Theme From Markham (4:40)
  7. 7 Let's Call It a Day (5:52)
  8. 8 Angel Face (4:08)
  9. 9 A Love Like This (5:13)
  10. 10 My Old Flame (5:35)
  11. 11 Goodbye (5:48)
  12. 12 Wahoo (4:52)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Charlie Haden Quartet West Primary Artist
Charlie Haden Indexed Contributor, Double Bass
Alan Broadbent Piano, Conductor
Cassandra Wilson Vocals
Diane Barere Cello
Elena Barere Violin, Concert Master
Jodi Burnett Cello
Ruth Cameron Vocals
Karen Dreyfus Viola
Kirstin Fife Violin
Renée Fleming Vocals
Jerry Grossman Cello
Jeanne LeBlanc Cello
Maria Newman Violin
Ernie Watts Tenor Saxophone
Ellen Westerman Cello
Diana Krall Vocals
Susan Chatman Violin
Adriana Zoppo Violin
Rodney Green Drums
Robert Berg Viola
Margot Aldcroft Viola
Elizabeth Wright Cello
Cameron Patrick Violin
Timothy Loo Cello
Norah Jones Vocals
Jonathan Dinklage Violin
Katherine Fong Violin
Steve Richards Cello
Todd Low Viola
Karen Elaine Viola
Melody Gardot Vocals
Yuiko Kamakari Violin
Dov Scheindlin Viola
Una Tone Violin
Kevin Kumar Violin
Cecilia Hobbs Gardner Violin
Suzanna Giordano Viola
Narciso Figueroa Violin
Vincent Lionti Viola
Marcy Vaj Violin, Concert Master
Laura Mcginniss Violin
Ruth Brugger-Johnson Violin
Technical Credits
Alan Broadbent Arranger, Orchestral Arrangements
Gordon Jenkins Composer
Hank Jones Composer
Irving Mills Composer
Harold Arlen Composer
Josef Myrow Composer
Lew Brown Composer
Ruth Cameron Producer, Liner Notes
Eddie DeLange Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Charlie Haden Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes
Benny Harris Composer
Ray Henderson Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Jay Newland Engineer
Mitchell Parish Composer
David Raksin Composer
Ned Washington Composer
Margaret Wooten Principal
Victor Young Composer
Rick Starr Song Research
Stanley Wilson Composer
Patrice Beausejour Cover Design
Arthur Johnston Composer
Sam Coslow Composer
Ted Koehler Composer
Steve Richards Principal
Karen Elaine Principal
Marcy Vaj String Contractor
Tom Baker Mastering
Vince Caro Engineer
Jean-Phillipe Allard Liner Notes, Executive Producer
Steve Khun Composer
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