Photo: Bruno Bollaert, Jazz Middelheim – 8/16/2009
The next show will air on Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will be a memorial to bassist, composer, and former yodeling cowboy Charlie Haden, who died on July 11th. As a tribute to this great artist, we’re re-broadcasting our interview with Haden and wife/musical collaborator Ruth Cameron, originally aired on April 10, 2011.
Born in Shenandoah, Iowa, Charlie Haden began his life in music almost immediately, singing on his parents’ country & western radio show at the tender age of 22 months. He started playing bass in his early teens and in 1957 left America’s heartland for Los Angeles, where he met and played with such legends as Art Pepper, Hampton Hawes, and Dexter Gordon.
In 1959, Haden teamed with Ornette Coleman to form the saxophonist’s pioneering quartet (alongside trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Billy Higgins). In addition to his still-influential work with Coleman, Haden also collaborated with a number of adventurous jazz giants, including John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, and Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny.
In 1969, Haden joined forces with pianist/composer Carla Bley, founding the Liberation Music Orchestra. The group’s self-titled debut is a true milestone of modern music, blending experimental big band jazz with the folk songs of the Spanish Civil War to create a powerfully original work of musical/political activism.
An acoustic bassist of extraordinary gifts, Haden’s talents as a musician have been in constant demand by his fellow artists. As a result, he has collaborated with a genuinely stunning array of musicians, including Hank Jones, Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Paul Motian, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Brecker, Kenny Barron, and Pat Metheny (with whom Haden shared a 1997 “Best Jazz Instrumental Individual/Small Group” Grammy® Award for their Beyond the Missouri Sky).
Haden’s love of world music has also seen him teaming with a variety of diverse international players, including Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti, Argentinean bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi, and Portuguese guitar giant Carlos Paredes. In addition, Haden has explored diverse streams of American popular music with both his acclaimed Quartet West, as well as on such recent collections as 2002’s inventive alliance with Michael Brecker, American Dreams.
Haden was invited to establish the jazz studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982 and has earned countless honors from around the globe, including and the Los Angeles Jazz Society prize for “Jazz Educator of the Year”, two Grammy Awards (alongside a multitude of nominations), myriad Down Beat readers and critics poll winners, a Guggenheim fellowship, four NEA grants for composition, France’s Grand Prix Du Disque (Charles Cros) Award, Japan’s SWING Journal Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. Montreal Jazz Festival’s Miles Davis Award.
On Friday, July 11, 2014, Charlie Haden left this world. He is survived by his wife Ruth Cameron, his four children, Josh, Tanya, Petra and Rachel, a brother, Carl, a sister, Mary, and three grandchildren. Tanya Haden is married to singer and actor Jack Black.
Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
We’re not aware of any NYC Metro area tributes or memorials to Haden at this time. Follow our “On the Bandstand” segment on air and on our blog and we’ll pass on info as we get it.
Watch Haden and Pat Metheny perform live in 2008.
Watch Haden conduct (and play with) the Liberation Music Orchestra in this 1987 performance with Dewey Redman live in Africa.