Sunday, February 19, 2012

Charlie Haden & Hank Jones: Come Sunday

Charlie Haden (bass)
Hank Jones (piano)
Come Sunday (Emarcy Records; 2011)

Charlie Haden reconvened with the great Hank Jones in 2010 to record a sequel to their beautiful spirituals album, Steal Away (Verve; 1995) and record another set of lovely passages entitled Come Sunday (Emarcy). The title comes from Duke Ellington album of the same name. This was also recorded just a few months before Hank Jones' passing which gives the session even more spiritual significance.

These hymns, spirituals and ballads are quiet but extremely uplifting. Just as their previous session 15 years early, the two musicians complement each other perfectly.  "Give Me That Old Time Religion" illustrates how the two work in harmonic unison. They move back and forth with each highlighting a section and then the other rejoins the rhythm. 

A spiritual favourite by Thomas Dorsey, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" sounds immaculate in the hands and Jones and Haden. Jones has a lyrical pattern that carries this somber piece and turns it into a something even more joyous upon conclusion. Haden's strings are heartfelt and warm, leaving a lasting impression.

"Nearer My God To Thee" details the journey from darkness to light. The exchanges here are deep yet Haden and Jones perform effortlessly making the tune light and fruitful. "Come Sunday" is propelled by Jones' jubilant hands and Haden's chords to feel bolder than the cello on Ellington's original. This allows for a closer inspection by the listener and forces you to pay attention to the details of every note.

Steal Away has always been one of my favourite duet records and I was excited when I heard about the recording of Come Sunday. It was a long time coming but I'm happy this time finally arrived. Come Sunday is exaltation of life and simply put--beautiful. Highly Recommended.

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