52 Jazz Tracks for 2021 (16. ‘Irene’ – Charlie Haden and Hampton Hawes, 1976)

The sixteenth of Jon Turney’s weekly selections (series introduced HERE), shows the great bassist bringing out the best in an equally fine pianist.

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Charlie Haden made plenty of duo recordings, but this early example stands out. “I can always tell it’s Hamp after hearing the first few notes,” Haden wrote. And there is something special about the pianist’s touch – captured superbly here.

The record was a poignant tailpiece to a pair of Haden LPs that presented only duos. The first – Closeness – offered a slightly odd thanks to Hawes, referring to “several selections” not included. Its successor was dedicated to the pianist, now deceased, and featured him on Ornette Coleman’s Turnaround

A little later we could hear the complete Hawes/Haden session, some of the best work either of them ever did.

Always in duos, Haden’s astounding ear and unfailingly apt responses seem to allow his partners new degrees of freedom.

He and Hawes knew each other well, musically – he relates he listened to Hawes’ records in high school, and they had often played together in clubs, or just in rooms together for fun. It shows. It’s a supremely relaxed and satisfying session, where two masters just settle in and see where the music takes them.

LINKS: Listen on Spotify

More on this recording on Jon’s Bristol Jazz Log

Read Jon’s introduction to the ’52 tracks’ series

Week Fifteen: ‘Down San Diego Way’ by Arthur Blythe

Spotify playlist for the series

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