Charlie Haden and Hank Jones, Come Sunday

Tad Hendrickson

By Tad Hendrickson

on 01.10.12 in Reviews

Charlie Haden
A fresh perspective on gospel classics and lesser-known jazz nuggets

There have been countless examples over the years of jazz musicians looking to spirituals for musical inspiration. Often, it’s musicians returning to the music of their childhood, where they heard and performed hymns in church. That’s the case with bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Hank Jones, who recorded their first set of spirituals together on 1995′s Steal Away. Then and now, the two are wonderfully matched, with Haden finding the aching emotional core of the melodies while Jones wraps these up in spare yet majestic filigree. Rarely does either solo for long; instead, both musicians seem to revel in the chemistry that they have together. This should come as no surprise considering that both mastered the art of understated swing long ago. Here, the two eschew the ecstatic often associated with some gospel classics; they mine timeless Christmas carols to offer fresh perspective, and they unearth some beautiful lesser-known nuggets. Highlights include the buoyant “Down by the Riverside” and the elegant and bluesy “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” among others. It’s also worth noting that concept and execution of Come Sunday is all the more poignant by the fact that the 91-year-old Jones passed away three months after recording this, seemingly creating his own perfect send off.