Charlie Haden’s Nocturne – Music for the Tropical Summer Nights

For us here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is finally on it’s way.

The ideal location for this album is outside, in the warm breeze of a tropical evening, sipping a nicely aged Dominican rum, a Pisco Sour, or maybe even just a Gin and Tonic (no Schweppes please though…).

The ideal place would be sitting by a pool, with the sea not too far away. And obviously, the essential part would be sitting there with your favorite other half.

Got the picture? If you’re not there right now, get onto your streaming service of choice and play this album, at least mentally you’ll be there in no time:

Charlie Haden – Nocturne (Verve 2001)

Another way to give you an idea about this beautiful album is a reference to Ray Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club, that during some points of the late 1990s you simply couldn’t get away from in any bar or restaurant you walked in pretty much anywhere on the planet.

This really overdosed me for the next decade, and I only recently rediscovered the new high-res release of Buena Vista, and now enjoy it again, but in moderate doses.

Charlie Haden Nocturne Verve 2001

However, Nocturne has been with me and on regular rotation since I first discovered it in 2004.

But by now you really get the picture, I assume. Charlie Haden is playing soft latin rhythms, inspired by Cuba and Mexico, and this is really made for the late night.

Charlie Haden

I’ve only seen Haden live once in Paris, but was very fond of him, so his recent passing made me sad. I really don’t know why I haven’t written about him yet, he has done so many beautiful albums, and is one of my favorite bass players. Well, watch this space.

Outstanding Musicians

Charlie has assembled an outstanding team of musicians here. Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a great pianist (saw him once live in solo, great experience), Ignacio Berroa on drums, Pat Metheny (that I’m generally not that fond of, except when he plays with Haden), Federico Britos Ruiz on the violin. Joe Lovano (excellent, he also played when I saw Haden live in Paris at Vincennes Jazz) and David Sanchez keep relatively low profile on this album, but are there when you need them to.

So by now you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Please, given the title of both the album and several songs (Noche de Ronda, Nocturnal, Moonlight, Nightfall), really listen to this album late at night, that is when it does all it’s magic.

Usually receiving a Grammy isn’t necessarily a safe gauge of quality (I still need to figure out what criteria they use, but they not very often get close to my taste), but in this case, the 2002 Grammy for best latin album was spot on.

My rating: 5 stars

You can find it here (Qobuz) or here (Spotify), or quite overpriced at Amazon.

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