In 2011, bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Carla Bley led an iteration of the Liberation Music Orchestra in a live concert at the Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. It was partially intended as a warm-up for a forthcoming Liberation Music Orchestra album, a process that had been in the works since 2007. Sadly, Haden died from post-polio syndrome in 2014 before any new LMO tracks could be recorded. Thankfully, Haden, along with his wife, Ruth Cameron Haden, and Bley had discussed his desires for how to finish the album prior to his passing. Furthermore, the 2011 performance, which included two new arrangements earmarked for the planned album, had been recorded for Belgian public radio. All this meant that an album was possible, and in 2015 Bley convened the LMO in a studio to record the new material. Per Haden's request, longtime friend and esteemed bassist Steve Swallow was brought in to play his parts.
This is number four in the series chronicling the week of concerts with different line-ups the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal devoted to the great bassist in 1989.
Out of the ashes of Tomorrow’s Gift, came Release Music Orchestra (RMO for short), who consisted of Tomorrow’s Gift’s remaining nucleus plus wind-instruments player Jacobsen. … Their Jazz Rock resembles much what was then done in Germany, such as Passport, Thirsty Moon, Kraan, Aera, etc. RMO was never a stable group and many line-up changes occurred with keyboardist Rürup remaining the sole original member throughout their 5-album career … Their sound grew, as was often the case in those days, more commercial and streamlined with each new album, sounding more and more like US Fusion Jazz of the late '70s.
Originating from the great Tomorrow's Gift via a complex transition that included the bands Release Group (also featuring Uli Trepte), Kickbit Information and Dennis, Release Music Orchestra (known as RMO for short) took a logical step from the Tomorrow's Gift masterpiece Goodbye Future being the same talented keyboards, bass and drums trio, supplemented by the distinctive winds player Norbert Jacobsen. "Bremen 1978" is the first official live release from these German Krautrock/jazz stalwarts that's a relaxed jazz/rock album much easier going in tone than the music of their earlier years. All instrumental tracks that owe much to the music of bands like Egg and Soft Machine.
One of the outlets for bassist Charlie Haden's multifarious musical interests is the politically charged, progressive Liberation Music Orchestra. In July 1992, the Orchestra - a powerhouse of some of the top names in jazz - brought the collaborative sound of their album Dream Keeper to the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The African National Congress anthem, 'Nkosi Sikelel'I Afrika,' opens the program and sets the tone, with a blistering solo from the alto sax of Makanda Ken McIntyre and a more reflective one by tenor giant Joe Lovano.
A legendary album and rightfully so, Charlie Haden's 1969 protest piece, "Liberation Music Orchestra", is one of the essential pieces of music of his era. Assembling an extended cast of musicians to support the music with arrangements by the versatile Carla Bley, the music blends free jazz with folk traditions from the United States and Europe. Along the way, a series of fantastic individual performances underscore just how brilliant the record is.