Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Haden, Charlie (Charles Edward)

Haden, Charlie (Charles Edward), bassist; b. Shenandoah, IA, Aug. 6, 1937

His family sang country music professionally, and from the age of two (a tape of a radio broadcast exists) he was singing on his family's radio show, and later on television shows. He had three older brothers and three younger sisters. He studied music, and as soon as he graduated from high school (where his music teacher Sam Thomas helped him learn to read music on the bass), he took a bus to Los Angeles to attend music school, but he was soon instead playing with Hampton Hawes, Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon, Elmo Hope. This circle also introduced him to heroin addiction which he struggled with for many years and overcame after a stay at Synanon in California in the late 60s/early 70s. He worked from about 1955-58 at the Hillcrest Club with Paul Bley and drummers Lenny McBrowne or Billy Higgins.

On a night off from that gig, he went to the Haig to see Gerry Mulligan and saw Ornette Coleman sit in. Coleman was asked to leave, but Haden was impressed and asked McBrowne to introduce him. He began playing at Coleman's house. Coleman and Don Cherry joined Bley at the Hillcrest Club in the fall of  1958 (recordings have been issued) and Haden became indelibly associated with Coleman's music. He moved to NY to open with Coleman at the Five Spot in Manhattan in Nov. 1959. He was inactive for a period in the early 1960s, then worked w. Denny Zeitlin, Tony Scott. He rejoined Coleman 1966, and for many specirfic tours or concerts since including a tour of Italy in 1987 as part of the "classic quartet." In the later `60s Haden worked with Archie Shepp, and was active with Carla Bley and Mike Mantler in the Jazz Composers Orchestra and on her albums such as Escalator over the Hill. He became involved in political causes, with a special interest in Latin and South American issues.

In 1969 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition, and the same year he and Carla Bley launched the Liberation Music Orchestra dedicated to freedom and human rights, using Bley's arrangements, some based on themes of the Spanish civil war. He reassembles the Orchestra occasionally and they have issued several albums over the years including in 1991 DREAM KEEPER, which was named Album of the Year in Down Beat both in the Readers and Critics polls, in addition to getting a Grammy nomination. It reassembled for a special performance at the Village Vanguard on Nov. 1, 2004.

In late 1971 he caused an uproar in Lisbon -- still under military rule -- by dedicating a song to black liberation movements in the Portuguese colonies; he was asked to leave the country. He was a member of Keith Jarrett's quartet with Paul Motian and Dewey Redman in the late `60s and early `70s. He played on the soundtrack of Last Tango in Paris with Gato Barbieri  (1972). In the late 1970s and early 1980s he played in Old and New Dreams, a reunion band with fellow Coleman alumni. In 1982 he settled in L.A. and founded the jazz
studies program at California Institute of the Arts, where he continues to teach. He still teaches one classs every Tuesday afternoon about the spirituality in improvisation. In 1985 or 86 his wife Ruth Cameron urged him to form a group and she named it the Quartet West; its albums have earned three Grammy nominations.

For many years he has suffered from tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, but it has not impeded his career. In 1989 the Montreal Jazz Festival presented him eight concerts (taped for CBC TV and issued on audio CDs), featuring him with Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell, with Paul Bley and Paul Motian, and with Pat Metheny (whom he met at an Ornette Coleman concert in 1973), Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Egberto Gismonti, and the Liberation Music Orchestra.

In the mid-1990s he recorded with Portuguese guitarist Carlos Paredes, on Rickie Lee Jones' POP POP album, Bruce Hornsby's Night on the Town, and on a recording with James Cotton and Joe Louis Walker. A Ginger Baker album included Bill Frisell, Jerry Hahn, and Bela Fleck. Composer Gavin Bryars wrote and recorded a piece for Haden and a string orchestra (ca. 1996). He appeared in the televised tribute to Kurt Weill's music by Hal Willner, LOST IN THE STARS. He earned two Grammy nominations for STEAL AWAY. Around 1996 he and his wife co-produced NOW IS THE HOUR.

His three daughters are triplets: Rachel plays electric bass and sings. Petra is a violinist and singer; Tania plays the cello, sings and studied animation in college. Petra and Rachel have a band, That Dog, with two albums out. Petra also plays violin with the Foo Fighters, and is featured on the Rentals' album and video. Tania plays cello on That Dog's recordings. Haden's son Joshua plays bass in rock band Spain, which recorded The Blue Moods of Spain; he introduced his father to the rock band the Minutemen.

In 1997 Haden did music for a film called The Kiss with Danny DeVito and Holly Hunter and for the remake of 12 Angry Men for Showtime. He appeared with a string orchestra at Carnegie Hall June 25, 2003.

Duets w. Kenny Barron
Beyond The Missouri Sky (duets w. Private Collection No.1, 2   (1995)
Steal Away       (1994, duets w. Hank Jones)
Always Say Goodbye      (1993)
Quartet West: Haunted Heart     (1991)
Dream Keeper                   (1991, Liberation Music Orchestra)
First Song                     (1990)
Dialogues                      (1990)
Montreal Tapes                 (1989, series of CDs)
Quartet West: In Angel City  (1988)
Silence                        (1987)
Etudes                         (1987)
Quartet West                   (1986)
Ballad of the Fallen           (1982, Liberation Music Orchestra)
Magico                         (1979)
Folk Songs                     (1979)
Gitane                         (1978)
Old and New Dreams             (1976)
Golden Number                  (1976, duets w. Coleman and others)
Closeness                      (1976)
As Long As There's Music       (1976)
Liberation Music Orchestra     (1969)
See also Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Keith Jarrett.

Leonard Feather: Blindfold Test. Charlie Haden, in: Down Beat, 33/11 (2.Jun.1966)
NN: Jazz News (Haden arrested in Portugal), in: Melody Maker (4.Dec.1971)
B. Palmer: Charlie Haden's Creed, in: Down Beat, 39/13 (1972)
NN: Haden Gets Lesson in Portugese Politics, in: Down Beat, 39/1 (1972)
Michael Zipkin: Charlie Haden. Struggling Idealist, in: Down Beat, 45/13 (13.Jul.1978)
Philippe Carles & Francis Marmande: Les retours d'Haden, in: Jazz Magazine, #277 (Jul/Aug.1979)
Conrad Silvert: Beauty Is a Rare Thing. Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Dewey Redman make Old and New Dreams, in: Down Beat, 47/6 (Jun.1980)
R. Zabor: Charlie Haden. Liberation and Revelation, in: Musician, #66 (1984)
Scott Lewis: Charlie Haden's Liberation Music, in: Coda, #212 (Feb/Mar.1987)
Howard Mandel: Charlie Haden's Search for Freedom, in: Down Beat, 54/9 (Sep.1987)
Paquito D'Rivera: Open Letter to Charlie Haden, in: Jazziz, 6/2 (Feb/Mar.1989)
Josef Woodard: A Healthy Dose of Disrespect. The Scurffy & Ruddy Show - Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny, in: Down Beat, 59/8 (Aug.1992)
Gudrun Endress: Die Bekenntnisse des Charlie Haden, in: Jazz Podium, 42/7-8 (Jul/Aug.1993)
Fred Shuster: Charlie Haden. 'Risk Your Life for Every Note', in: Down Beat, 61/8 (Aug.1994)
Derek Ansell: Charlie Haden, in: Jazz Journal, 47/10 (Oct.1994)
Josef Woodard: Before & After. Charlie Haden, in: Jazz Times, 25/3 (Apr.1995)
Zan Stewart: Quartet West. La sua "ora" dura da dieci anni, in: Musica Jazz, 52/4 (Apr.1996)
Larry Kanter: Haden Family Values, in: Option, #69 (Jul/Aug.1996)
Don Palmer: Call-and-Response. The Charlie Haden Interview., in: Jazziz, 13/8 (Aug.1996)
Matt Resnicoff: Charlie Haden / Pat Metheny. Shared Vision, in: Jazz Times, 27/3 (Apr.1997)
Lucy Tauss: Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden. Telling Stories from the Show-Me, in: Jazziz, 14/7 (Jul.1997)
Dan Quellette: Blindfold Test. Charlie Haden, in: Down Beat, 64/12 (Dec.1997)

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