Magazine article The New Yorker

South of the Border; Jazz Notes

Magazine article The New Yorker

South of the Border; Jazz Notes

Article excerpt

Three years ago, when Charlie Haden explored Latin-American standards on his album "Nocturne," the result was as bracing as a top-shelf margarita. His new release, "Land of the Sun" (Verve), covers similar ground, focussing on Mexican composers, but without as much success. "Nocturne" was sensual and mysterious; "Sun" leans toward the languid. The earlier album's romantic violin is gone, replaced with flute, acoustic guitar, and trumpet. Darker passions are dissolved, and some of the tunes are uncomfortably sweet. Still, Haden is a master bassist, and "Sun," despite its faults, is refreshing for its willingness to put mood and atmosphere in the forefront. "Sun" is also redeemed by gorgeously lyrical solos from, among others, the Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, and the altoist Miguel Zenon. Haden contributes a few brief, characteristically deliberate solos, and the improvisation follows the unhurried, breezy feel of the album. …

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