CHARLIE HADEN — Silence (review)

CHARLIE HADEN — Silence album cover Album · 1989 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
snobb
In September 1987 Charlie Haden recorded an excellent piano trio album with pianist Geri Allen and drummer Paul Motian called "Etudes". Released the following year on the Italian Soul Note label, it opened with Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and continued with mostly originals by the band members, all boppish and swinging.

Three months after the "Etudes" sessions, Haden recorded more material in a Roman studio, but with a very different team this time. Billy Higgins replaces Paul Motian, lyrical Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi replaces Geri Allen, and even more, now there is a trumpeter on board, none other than Chet Baker. The end results became the album "Silence".

As one can expect, the music on "Silence" is different from "Etudes". With full respect to Baker's early albums, his participation on jazz albums in the 80s hardly adds a lot of pluses. His name and his voice can still attract nostalgic listeners, but his trumpet playing is hardly competitive compared with the artists he is working with. Even worse, there seems to be a rather pointless and commercial attempt to exploit Baker's past, you can't return the atmosphere back to the cool jazz era in the late 80s, added with Pieranunzi's melancholic mainstream slick piano sounds, its all quite artificial, out of time and place, a not too successful imitation.

This is still a product of classy musicians, so maybe it could attract fans of sentimental Italian jazz from the 70s, which, with varying success tried to combine American jazz traditions with Italian melodic lyricism and sentimentality.
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