Liberation Music Orchestra is a jazz album by Charlie Haden, released in 1969. It was Haden’s first album 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. 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.
Perry Robinson — clarinet
Gato Barbieri — tenor saxophone, clarinet
Dewey Redman — alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Michael Mantler — trumpet
Roswell Rudd — trombone
Bob Northern — French horn, hand wood blocks, crow call, bells, military whistle
Howard Johnson — tuba
Sam Brown — guitar, Tanganyikan guitar, thumb piano
Carla Bley — piano, tambourine
Charlie Haden — bass
Paul Motian — drums, percussion