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Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra: Liberated Music

Charlie Haden and Carla Bley

On the eve of the 2004 presidential election last November, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra played at the Village Vanguard on a Monday night normally reserved for the Vanguard Orchestra. Most of the folks in the Vanguard that night, Haden included, were hoping for regime change. The following night, Haden was seated in front of the TV, watching the election returns with writer Jay Cocks of Newsweek. As the evening wore on, things began to look bleaker and bleaker for the Democrats, although Cocks optimistically offered, “Look, maybe things will change by morning.” Pragmatist Haden responded, “Don’t be so sure. These guys have got it all wrapped up. They already made sure of it.”

With George W. Bush winning again, Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra recorded Not in Our Name (Verve), a biting indictment of the president’s administration. As lifelong activist Haden writes in the liner notes: “We were hoping sanity and justice would prevail. They lost out to greed, cruelty and injustice. The machine won the election again by hook and by crook; the way it won in 2000. We want the world to know, however, that the devastation that this administration is wreaking is not in the name of many people in this country.”

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