RIP Charlie Haden

Last Friday a great jazz bassists died in Los Angeles. Charlie Haden was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, a humble beginning for a man who played with a lot of edge. In the 1950s and 60s he was a member of Ornette Coleman’s group, touring the country playing a new avant-garde style known as free jazz. This great description of his own style comes from David A. Graham at the Atlantic.

His playing isn’t elaborately virtuosic, in the style of a Paul Chambers; and it isn’t irresistibly swinging, like Ray Brown. Like a country or blues bassist, Haden often stayed close to the root note of each chord.


Haden is able to fill a huge musical space without using a huge number of notes, [sic] his bass maintains harmony and rhythm in the absence of a full band, and [sic] he brings out the best in his partners.

That link also includes plenty of Haden’s tracks. Enjoy!


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