In 1986, jazz bass legend Charlie Haden formed his acclaimed straight ahead group Quartet West with saxophonist Ernie Watts, pianist Alan Broadbent and drummer Larance Marable who because of illness was replaced by Rodney Green. Marking their twenty-fifth year together, Quartet West celebrates their anniversary during a five-night run at Birdland with the March 22nd release of their new album, Sophisticated Ladies (Decca/Emarcy). The new album features an all-star cast of female vocalists including NORAH JONES, CASSANDRA WILSON, DIANA KRALL, MELODY GARDOT, RENÉE FLEMING and RUTH CAMERON, all of whom will be unadvertised guests during the week.
"Haden's vision for Quartet West recognizes the beginning of modernism in jazz. Along with lush forties pop ballads and lilting originals by Haden or Alan Broadbent, the group's pianist, the Quartet's elegant "noir" infused bop- oriented style and stellar instrumentalists perfectly evoke a sense of place like no other band. Beautiful melodies are given lush, lyrical interpretations that captivate with their sublime beauty and passionate delivery." (Frances Davis, Atlantic Monthly)
The Quartet has celebrated twenty-five years together and it is one of the rare groups in jazz that has continued to perform as an ensemble over a long period of time.
Time Magazine has hailed Haden as "one of the most restless, gifted, and intrepid players in all of jazz." His career which has spanned more than fifty years has encompassed such genres as straight ahead and free jazz, Portuguese fado and vintage country-- not to mention a consistently revolving roster of sidemen and bandleaders that reads like a list from some imaginary jazz hall of fame. Haden, who was invited to establish the jazz studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982, has earned countless honors from around the world, including the Los Angeles Jazz Society prize for "Jazz Educator of the Year", two Grammy Awards (alongside a multitude of nominations), myriad Down Beat readers and critics poll winners, a Guggenheim fellowship, four NEA grants for composition, France's Grand Prix Du Disque (Charles Cros) Award, Japan's SWING Journal Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, and Montreal Jazz Festival's Miles Davis Award.
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