The Sound
From the grandiose sweep of Haden’s “Silence” to a poignant take on Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” to a reworking of David Bowie’s “This Is Not America,” a raucous reimagining of “America the Beautiful” and a tender reading of Antonin Dvorak’s “Goin’ Home” (from his New World Symphony) this ensemble under Bley’s direction is a must-see. Stellar solos and stirring arrangements prevail when the Liberation Music Orchestra takes the stage.

When & Where
It’s a Breeze & Hawk Haven Vineyard Stage in Cape May Convention Hall, Saturday, November 10 at 4pm

The Story
Under the artistic direction of pianist-arranger and NEA Jazz Master Carla Bley, the 12-piece Liberation Music Orchestra celebrates the life and music of the late bassist-composer and NEA Jazz Master Charlie Haden (1937–2014). Formed in 1969, the original band was Haden’s vehicle for sociopolitical statements about the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement wrapped in folk, world music and avant-garde jazz. Haden’s inspiration for the Liberation Music Orchestra came from hearing songs from the Spanish Civil War. He included three of those songs on the group’s self-titled debut album on the Impulse! label. Bley did much of the arranging on that 1970 debut, including the funereal closer, “We Shall Overcome.” The band would reconvene for 1982’s Ballad of the Fallen, 1990’s Dream Keeper and 2005’s Not In Our Name, which was a scathing indictment on the Bush Administration’s Iraq War. In 2016, Impulse! posthumously released Haden’s final album with the Liberation Music Orchestra, Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings). Produced by Haden’s wife, Ruth Cameron Haden, and Carla Bley, the album featured a live performance Haden gave with the Liberation Music Orchestra in Belgium in 2011, along with three new studio recordings the LMO made after his death with bassist Steve Swallow, one of Haden’s many longtime friends.

The current edition of the Liberation Music Orchestra features Bley on piano and Swallow on bass with trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, trumpeters Seneca Black and Michael Rodriguez, saxophonists Chet Doxas, Tony Malby and Chris Cheek, guitarist Steve Cardenas, French hornist Vincent Chauncey, tubaist Joseph Daley and drummer Matt Wilson.

Lineups & Venues