Friday, November 16, 2012


YEAR:  1995
LABEL:  Verve
TRACK LISTING:  It's Me O Lord (Standing In the Need of Prayer),  Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen,  Spiritual,  Wade In the Water,  Swing Low Sweet Chariot,  Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,  L'Amour De Moy,  Danny Boy,  I've Got A Robe You Got A Robe (Goin' To Shout All Over God's Heav'n),  Steal Away,  We Shall Overcome,  Go Down Moses,  My Lord What A Mornin',  Hymn Medley (Abide With Me/Just As I Am Without One Plea/What A Friend We Have In Jesus/Amazing Grace)
IMPRESSIONS:  This is another album that arose from my periodic asking of Maz to recommend a really good jazz album while we were both working at Borders. She hit it out of the park with this one.  Nothing but Haden's lyrical bass (oftentimes carrying the melody) and Jones' expressive piano but one of the most satisfying, joyful jazz albums I've heard.  These are the spirituals that most of us are familiar with but here they are presented in a light and swinging manner while still retaining respect for the songs.  The "sorrow songs", as W.E.B. DuBois called them -- and he really captures what listening to this album feels like when he writes:  "...through all the sorrow of the Sorrow Songs there breathes a hope, a faith in the ultimate justice of things.  The minor cadences of despair change often to triumph and calm confidence."  Don't mistake this for a gospel album; it's all jazz -- only the choice of songs links it to gospel in that spirituals are the bedrock on which these jazz duets build.  This is an album you can listen to again and again without fatigue; it continually energizes you.
FACT SHEET:  STEAL AWAY is Charlie Haden's 13th album as leader and first with Hank Jones.  Most of the songs are traditional with "Spiritual" being the sole track written by Charlie Haden in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X.  17 years after this seminal album, Haden and Jones team-up for a sequel called "COME SUNDAY" released in 2012; the album was recorded shortly before Hank Jones' death in 2010.  

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