Charlie Haden's Quartet West: The Long Goodbye
The Long Goodbye
Charlie Haden's Quartet West
Haunted Heart (Verve 513078-2)
Composed by Alan Broadbent.
Recorded: Sète, France, October 27-28, 1991
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
Quartet West was one of the more interesting and significant groups of the '90s because of the material they chose to perform, and both the polish and authority with which they played it. Their focus was on the Hollywood film, popular and jazz music of the '40s and '50s. Quartet West's approach was atmospheric, mixing old recordings by such popular singers of the day as Billie Holiday, Jeri Southern and Jo Stafford, with movie fanfares and themes, as well as classic bebop tunes.
Another of the group's fascinations was the way Raymond Chandler portrayed the dark and decadent side of Southern California, and Los Angeles in particular, in his Philip Marlowe mysteries, which inspired original compositions such as Haden's "Hello My Lovely," and Broadbent's "Lady In the Lake" and "The Long Goodbye." The latter begins with the composer's melodic piano intro, leading into Watts's sweet-toned reading of the romantic, yearning theme, with its intimation of innocence lost and heartbreak to follow. The swelling bridge seems to come right out of a Hollywood tearjerker. Broadbent contributes a sparkling solo with prancing lines and richly chorded passages. Watts enters with swirling runs and stirring vocalized inflections, his solo masterfully constructed and yet still sounding emotionally spontaneous, before he once again caresses the memorable melody. Private eye Philip Marlowe could have used a dose of this soothing music.
"So I went to bed. But not to sleep. At three a.m., I was walking the floor listening to Khachaturian working in a tractor factory. He called it a violin concerto. I called it a loose fan belt and the hell with it. A white night for me is as rare as a fat postman." – The Long Goodbye (Chapter 12)
Reviewer: Scott Albin
Tags: 1990s jazz