Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charlie Haden Tribute on Bass Channel

Charlie Haden, one of the greatest bassists in jazz history, passed away at the age of 76 on Friday, July 11. He will be remembered for generations as an unmistakably warm presence on some of the most influential jazz recordings of all time.

To commemorate Haden's awe-inspring musical legacy, we are featuring his music on AccuJazz's Bass channel. Listeners will hear Haden's playing from dozens of historic recordings, including albums he made as a leader and with important collaborators like Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paul Bley and more. The tracks are interspersed with others on AccuJazz's diverse bass-centric channel, featuring the playing of other great bassists from throughout jazz history, such as Ray Brown, Charles Mingus, Dave Holland, Avishai Cohen, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding and many more.

Listening to Haden's playing on so many different albums over the past week, I've been struck with what a consistently strong impression he makes, no matter the musical situation. Whether it's a seemingly simple, straight-ahead standard, like his performances on two recent duo albums with Keith Jarrett, or an all-out free jazz aural assault with Ornette Coleman, like those on the Science Fiction sessions, the warmth, depth and assertiveness of Haden's bass come through loud and clear.

Haden's individual, earthy tone owes itself partially to his background as a country musician, having played with his locally-famous family band as a child in his home state of Iowa. Haden has said that he sees a "natural convergence" between country and jazz, two musics borne out of struggle and hardship. He likewise found inspiration in the songs of the Spanish Civil War, and used that music as a basis for his innovative and influential Liberation Music Orchestra, a big band that recorded Haden's politically-charged music on a number of albums from the '60s through the 2000s.

Below is some fine Haden-related reading that has popped up online since his passing. I'd recommend you press play on AccuJazz's Bass channel and get to reading:

New York Times obituary
Dozens of musicians' reflections compiled by Ethan Iverson at Do the Math
Carla Bley's brief remembrance at NewMusicBox
Keith Jarrett's tribute, posted on Peter Hum's
Hank Shteamer obituary at Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches
Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizens lists his favorite Haden recordings