Charlie Haden

Released August 31, 2004

Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album 2005




Legendary bassist & producer Charlie Haden reunites with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, his co-producer of the GRAMMY-award winning Best Latin Jazz Album Nocturne, on Land of the Sun – another exquisitely crafted recording. A collection of beautiful ballads from Mexico, Land of the Sun focuses primarily on the compositions of Jose Sabre Marroquin whose songs are recognized as landmarks of Mexico’s popular music. Sun also features Agustin Lara’s classic “Solamente Una Vez,” a song which has been recorded by both Frank Sinatra & Elvis Presley. In addition to sax giant Joe Lovano & percussionist Ignacio Berroa (both prominently featured on Nocturne), Sun includes the addition of alto sax, trumpet, flute & guitar, resulting in a richer sound that further highlights the lyricism of these indelible melodies. Land of the Sun is another milestone in one of the most critically distinguished & popular careers in the history of jazz. From free jazz and protest songs to American folk tunes, eclecticism has been bassist Charlie Haden’s stock-in-trade. On his previous recording, Nocturne, Haden, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, and percussionist Ignacio Berroa explored the Latin ballad tradition. Here, save for Augstin Lara’s “Solamente Una Vez (You Belong to My Heart)” (previously recorded by Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra) and Armando Manzanero’s “Esta Tarde Vi Llover (Yesterday I Heard the Rain),” Haden focuses on the work of little-known Mexican composer Jose Sabre Marroquin. Haden’s vivid and vibrant bass lines are augmented by Rubalcaba’s transcendent arrangements, featuring Lovano and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon. Marroquin’s romantic boleros and canciones, especially “Nostalgia” and “Paola’s Song,” exemplify the softer syncopations of the Latin sound. Eugene Holley, Jr.

Track Listing:

1. Fuiste Tú (It Was You) 6:17

2. Sueño Sólo con Tu Amor (I Only Dream of Your Love) 5:08

3. Canción de Cuna a Patricia (Lullaby for Patricia) 7:00

4. Solamente una Vez (You Belong to My Heart) 8:06

5. Nostalgia 5:40

6. De Siempre (Forever) 7:07

7. Añoranza (Longing) 3:21

8. Cuando Te Podré Olvidar (When Will I Forget You) 4:49

9. Esta Tarde Vi Llover (Yesterday I Heard the Rain) (Armando Manzanero) 6:42

10. Canción a Paola (Paola’s Song) 8:58


Charlie Haden: bass

Gonzalo Rubalcala: piano, percussion

Ignacio Berroa: drums, percussion

Joe Lovano: tenor saxofone (1-3, 5-8, 10)

Miguel Zenon: alto saxofone

Michael Rodriquez: trumpet, flugelhorn

Oriente Lopez: flute

Larry Koonse: guitar

Lionel Louke: guitar

Juan De La Cruz (Chocolate): percussion

Recorded December 19 – 22, 2003, at Avatar Studios, New York, NY

Arrangements by Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Produced by Charlie Haden, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Ruth Cameron

Recorded and mixed by Jay Newland


Most of the Latin jazz offerings out there seem to be focused on the sounds of Cuba and Brazil. Charlie Haden’s Land of the Sun pulls us into a musical trip to Mexico with his takes on a set of eight songs from the pen of Mexican composer Jose Sabre Marroquin and one each from Augustine Lara and Armando Manzanero.
Bassist Haden teams up once again with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcala, his collaborator on the Grammy-winning Nocturne. Rubalcala—a facile and fluid pianist, with a penchant for delicate beauty—wrote the arrangements here, and proves himself a superlative artist in that arena, too. He weaves flute, saxophones, guitars and trumpet into the piano trio sound with an extraordinary grace and suppleness; and the individual soloists, Rubalcala included, rise to the occasion. This music flows like a dream, anchored by drummer Ignacio Berroa, with a good deal of subtle brushwork; and Juan De La Cruz, who delivers a soft and succinct bubbling of bongo percussion to the mix.
The set’s opener, “Fuiste Tu (It Was You),” tinkles in on the pianist’s light touch, a music box delicacy in his notes as Marroquin’s melody floats along into a slightly tart and introspective alto sax solo by Miguel Zenon. And that sets the tone for the sound. Gorgeous ballads delivered in a dreamy time suspension, with elegance and grace. This sound is a long way from my first encounter with Charlie Haden on Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz, that fervid, fractious, fabulous cacophony from 1960. On Land of the Sun his bass is suffused with a great expansive substance and insistent yet gentle and unobtrusive weight, anchoring a work of understated, shameless loveliness strewn with supple soloing from tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, flautist Oriente Lopez, trumpeter/flugelhornist Michael Rodriquez, and guitarists Larry Koonse and Lionel Louke.
Charlie Haden has brought together a group of first-rate musicians and a batch of elegant Marroquin songs (plus two), and he’s made magic.

Dan McClenaghan (AllAboutJazz)