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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

THE LIBERATION MUSIC ORCHESTRA

By Allison Davis
Published September 23, 2005

Not In Our Name
Verve

Since the Liberation Music Orchestra was first introduced in 1968, Grammy-winning artist Charlie Haden has been utilizing the group as a musical platform for his political statements. Not In Our Name, the LMO’s fourth recording, stands as Haden’s rallying cry against the Bush administration and its impact on the rest of the world. With this collection, Haden succeeds in proving that one can disagree with the government’s practices and still be patriotic; seven of the eight tracks feature American composers such as Pat Metheny, Samuel Barber and Haden’s mentor, Ornette Coleman. The disc also serves as a reunion between Haden and longtime collaborator Carla Bley, largely responsible for the powerfully subtle tweaks of these familiar harmonies. An undeniable standout is an extended “America The Beautiful,” ranging in interpretation from a somber funeral dirge to a brassy big-band pageant, with a rousing rendition of “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” tucked in the middle. Conceptually and musically, Not In Our Name is a triumph, providing listeners with food for both the soul and the mind.