With a career that spanned more than a half a century, Charlie Haden proved to be not only one of jazzs finest bassists and composers, he was also a staunch champion of justice. Throughout his career, his rebellious yet gentle spirit addressed various socio-political injustices, particularly with his galvanizing Liberation Music Orchestra, which he founded in 1969. The following year, it released its prophetic, eponymously titled debut album on Impulse Records!, which boasted a stellar lineup that included such fellow jazz renegades as Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri, Dewey Redman, Paul Motian, and the arranger, composer Carla Bley whom Haden would eventually ask to arrange all of his subsequent Liberation Music Orchestra recordings.
Two years after Charlies passing in July 2014, his musical vision continues to ignite that esteemed ensemble with the release of its latest disc, Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings). The disc documents the final recording on which Charlie performed with the Liberation Music Orchestra.
The concept for Time/Life originated in 2007 when Charlie felt the environment was being abused to such a dangerous extent that they had to speak out about it. It was long overdue. Four years later in August, the Liberation Music Orchestra performed at the Middelheim Jazz Festival in Antwerp, Belgium; Bertrand Flamang, the festivals director, wanted the thematic focus for that year to be on the environment. So with Carla Bleys ingenious arrangements, the Liberation Music Orchestra delivered a luxuriant rendering of Bill Evans and Miles Davis Blue in Green and an evocative exploration through Song for the Whales, a lamenting composition Haden penned in 1979, and first recorded with the band Old and New Dreams.