Title - 'Tokyo Adagio'
Artist - Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba
For those not in the classical know, the late Charles Edward "Charlie" Haden (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014) was an American jazz double bass player, bandleader, composer and educator known for his long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, pianist Keith Jarrett, his Liberation Music Orchestra, with arrangements by pianist Carla Bley, and his band formed in the 1980s, Quartet West.
In turn, Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a Grammy Award-winning Afro-Cuban jazz pianist and composer, who with Orquesta Aragón, toured France and Africa in 1983; and went on to form his own Grupo Projecto in 1985.
Tokyo Adagio is a posthumous release, but one that Charlie Haden ardently desired prior to his passing in July 2014. The album marks the pinnacle of the American bassists collaborations with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the pianist of genius he first encountered in Cuba in 1986, and with whom Charlie immediately developed a bond bordering on the telepathic.
Several recordings the famous Montreal Tapes (1998), the studio albums Nocturne (2001) and Land of the Sun (2004) are evidence of the deep concordance of these two musicians, but no recording had yet captured the communal purity with which the duo displayed for the audience at the Blue Note Tokyo on consecutive evenings in the Spring of 2005.
Simply put, Tokyo Adagio masterfully achieves dramatic moments without ever having to shout, nor ever in danger of losing my attention; which can all too easily happen with quietly paced recordings. The simplicity and elegance are the perfect company to keep on a raining weekend morning or a productive day being creative. I just cannot say enough great things about this delightful, vibrant, needed album.
Ten years on, Impulse!/Universal Music Classics have lovingly brought us this unique eyewitness account with a title to Charlies taste, since he often referred to himself as an adagio guy. Ergo, Tokyo Adagio is both a tribute and a testament to the nobility of his inimitable grace; through this release the spirit of Charlie Haden will endure.