ImageWhat’s going on here?  Charlie Haden is a bass player best known for his free jazz. But on 1999’s The Art of the Song he went into somewhat different territory of ballads from multiple genres, backed by Alan Broadbent’s string arrangements. (Broadbent was the pianist in Haden’s ensemble of that time, Quartet West). Vocals on the album were shared out between Shirley Horn and Bill Henderson, but on the final track, the folk song/spiritual “Wafarin’ Stanger” Haden himself is singing in a vulnerable-sounding, untutored voice, well out of his comfort zone. It’s very simple and affecting. “I’m only going over Jordan – I’m only going over home”

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