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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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CHARLIE HADEN and
GONZALO RUBALCABA

Tokyo Blues

IMPULSE 472 992-6

 

 

En La Orilla Del Mundo

My Love and I

When Will The Blues Leave

Sandino

Solamente Una Vez

Transparence


Charlie Haden (bass) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano)

Recorded live at Blue Note Tokyo, Japan on March 16th to March 19th, 2005 [51:49]


Iím working from a promotional copy, without liner notes, so canít tell to what extent documentation focuses, if at all, on the musical alliance of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the late Charlie Haden, but that is what is celebrated in this 52-minute disc on Impulse. The six tracks were made in Tokyo over a several-night residence in March 2005.

The recording at the Blue Note club in Tokyo is extremely fine Ė deep, rich, resonantly burnished, capturing the full range of the pianistís fine playing as well as the to-to-bottom registral playing of the master bassistís. In that aural context one can enjoy the ardently melancholic En La Orilla Del Mundo, where the pianistís increasing decorative playing tends almost Ė but not quite Ė to the florid, always underpinned by Hadenís powerfully supportive figures. The deft allusive lines of My Love and I, with a rich romantic burnish, amplify the rather horizontal pleasures of an album that is long on glow if rather less purposeful when it comes to athleticism. And yet, of course, the albumís title is Tokyo Adagio, not Tokyo Allegro, so one should expect as much. Hadenís long solo on Ornette Colemanís When Will The Blues Leave is a particular high point on the album though his own, rather more up-tempo Sandino Ė which elicits admiring applause - shows his own compositional skills and variety. In the main, though, this is late-night music, exemplified by Solamente Una Vez, the reverie intensified by the pianistís rich, classical chording.

A disc such as this reveals Haden and Rubalcabaís relaxed, romanticist credentials to an almost glutinous degree. Moments of up-tempo or more invasive playing offer some necessary contrast, indeed relief. Much here is truly beautiful, but you can have too much of a good thing.

Jonathan Woolf



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