Charlie Haden

The Montreal Tapes [Paul Motian/Gonzalo Rubalcaba]

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In volume four of the Charlie Haden concerts at the 1989 Montreal Festival, Montreal Tapes with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paul Motian returns as the drummer, but this time, the piano chair is occupied by the then-little-known Haden discovery, Cuban Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who proceeds to dazzle the audience with his mind-boggling speed. Rubalcaba's irresistible momentum drives this session whenever he solos; all the others can do is hang onto the whirlwind. The music-making in general, though, is more tied to the mainstream than that of the companion Montreal trio album with Geri Allen, and this group doesn't have quite the same internal compatibility as that of the Allen trio. There is one concession to Rubalcaba's Latin heritage, Haden's Spanish-tinged tune "La Pasionara," in which the Cuban goes bonkers with the tremolos. Haden's own soloing is massive and outgoing in tone; clearly, he was hugely enjoying this festival where he was given total carte blanche.

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