Liberation Music Orchestra (album)

This article is about the 1969 album. For the group, see Liberation Music Orchestra.
Liberation Music Orchestra
Studio album by Charlie Haden
Released January 1970[1]
Recorded April 27–29, 1969
Judson Hall, New York City
Genre Avant-garde jazz
Length 51:16
Label Impulse!
Producer Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden chronology
Liberation Music Orchestra
As Long as There's Music
Liberation Music Orchestra chronology
Liberation Music Orchestra
The Ballad of the Fallen
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[3]

Liberation Music Orchestra is a band and jazz album by Charlie Haden released in 1970, Haden's first as leader.


The inspiration for the album came when Haden heard songs from the Spanish Civil War. He included three of those songs on the album (the trilogy "El Quinto Regimiento", "Los Cuatro Generales", and "Viva la Quince Brigada", which are old Spanish folk songs given new words during the war, in that order "El Vito", previously adapted by John Coltrane as “Olé", "Los Cuatro Muleros", for which Federico García Lorca also wrote lyrics, and "Ay Carmela").

Other tracks on the album include Ornette Coleman's "War Orphans", which Haden had played with Coleman in 1967, three pieces by Carla Bley, who also contributed much of the arranging, two of Haden's own compositions, one dedicated to Che Guevara and one inspired by the 1968 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party:

"After the minority plank on Vietnam was defeated in a vote taken on the convention floor, the California and New York delegations spontaneously began to sing 'We Shall Overcome' [the last track on the album] in protest. Unable to gain control of the floor, the rostrum instructed the convention orchestra to drown out the singing. 'You're a Grand Old Flag' and 'Happy Days Are Here Again' could then be heard trying to stifle 'We Shall Overcome'. To me this told the story, in music, of what was happening in our country politically." (Charlie Haden, original liner notes)

In "Circus '68 '69" the musicians are thus divided into two bands in recreation of the events on the convention floor.

The Liberation Music Orchestra's next album, The Ballad of the Fallen, didn't appear until 1983.


Lester Bangs' Rolling Stone review stated "The arrangements by Carla Bley are miracles of dynamics, rising and falling in volume and velocity and the awe-inspiring balance of collective ensembles improvising freely through swellings and contractions of individual voices entering and leaving the mysterious swirling circle of simultaneous songs as diverse as the number of performers yet never lacking in the kind of transporting telepathic unity that makes this multiplicity of musical lines such a far cry from the chaos of the charlatans in other sections of the avant-garde hiding under the mantle of these geniuses. An extremely tight, moving substantial record."[4]

Track listing

LP side A:[5]

  1. "The Introduction" (Bley) / "Song of the United Front" (Brecht, Eisler) 3:07
  2. "El Quinto Regimiento" ("The Fifth Regiment") (trad., arr. Bley)
    "Los Cuatro Generales" ("The Four Generals") (trad., arr. Bley)
    "Viva la Quince Brigada" ("Long Live the Fifteenth Brigade") (melody trad., words Bart Van Derschelling) 20:58
  3. "The Ending to the First Side" (Bley) 2:07

LP side B:

  1. "Song for Ché" (Haden) 9:29
  2. "War Orphans" (Coleman) 6:42
  3. "The Interlude (Drinking Music)" (Bley) 1:24
  4. "Circus '68 '69" (Haden) 6:10
  5. "We Shall Overcome" (Horton, Hamilton, Carawan, Seeger) 1:19


External links


  1. The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records, page 202
  2. McDonald, Steven (2011). "Liberation Music Orchestra - Charlie Haden | AllMusic". Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  3. Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 91. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  4. Bangs, L., Rolling Stone, February 21, 1970 p.52
  5. Liberation Music Orchestra at
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