Legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden has proven himself over the years in a number of celebrated duets. Here he uses a basic trio, including great improvisational pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and drummer Ignacio Berroa (with a host of brilliant guest artists including guitarist Pat Metheney, horn players Joe Lovano and David Sanchez and violinist Federico Britos Ruiz), to tackle the versatile form of the bolero, a Cuban love song variant that emigrated to Mexico and Puerto Rico at the beginning of the 20th century and later spread to the rest of South America.
The mood of this recording is one of relaxed expression and refined elegance; the playing full of introspective musicianship and profound appreciation. All the tunes are Cuban or Mexican standards “in 32 bars, similar in slow tempo and romantic lyricism” chosen for their thematic content in order to recreate in contemporary language “the imaginary world of the bolero"—always in a manner that unites emotion, intellect and focused energy on “finding the pretty notes,” as Bird Parker once said.
To some this slow, eloquent jazz may resemble elevator music, but for others it can be a musical revelation. While illuminating the multi-leveled connection between Brazil and “cool jazz” artists, this album fully explores the original melodies with great skill and imagination.
Included also are two original compositions by Haden and one from the Cuban-born Rubalcaba. This album is dedicated to Haden’s daughter Petra, a talented young violinist who was injured in a car accident last year.