Jarrett Haden last danceDid Haden know that this would be his last recording? He has bowed out with a refined set of seemingly effortless standards.

Label: ECM
Time: 9 Tracks / 76 minutes

You have to wonder whether bassist Charlie Haden sensed that this might be his last recording. The label may have added the final track "Goodbye" as an alternative take, but even without it, the closing piece would still be "Every Time We Say Goodbye" on a disc called Last Dance.

Often Keith Jarrett gets the headlines, but Haden, who died in the middle of July, after suffering from the occasional paralysing effects of post-Polio syndrome, is predictably in the news at the moment and complements him beautifully. In its obituary, the New York Times commented that he was "a lifelong proponent of melody" and playing these standards brings out that innate sense of tunefulness.

These recordings come from the same sessions at Jarrett's house that provided 2010's popular Jasmine and include such standards as "Round Midnight," the seemingly effortless "It Might as Well be Spring" and "My Old Flame." The latter and the Kurt Weill/ Ira Gershwin piece "My Ship" take a full twenty minutes between them and that sets the pace for the whole set, with the exception of a brief and boppier "Dance of the Infidels."

The home setting shows, creating a relaxed vibe of two great musicians, who mutually respect one another's playing, getting together after some thirty years with barely a rehearsal beforehand. The interplay is comfortable, without being careless, and infuses the songs with a tenderness that is just right for a set of songs that exemplify the piano-in-the-corner, low-lit, classic jazz mood.


Derek Walker

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