Archive for the ‘Charlie Haden’ Category

Gonzalo Rubalcaba during a riveting solo performance Tuesday night… BY LARRY BLUMENFELD | JANUARY 16, 2015

10606266_10205747513669861_4678518110846224659_n-1Minutes into Tuesday night’s memorial concert for Charlie Haden at Manhattan’s Town Hall, on a screen above the stage, came the first of several excerpts from a documentary, “Rambling Boy,” that punctuated three-plus hours of music and testimonials. Here was Haden as a boy, no more than two or three, singing and yodeling with confident joy.

Long before Haden helped ignite a jazz revolution while in his early twenties, as bassist in saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s quartet; before he spent a decade in another landmark band led by pianist Keith Jarrett; before he formed his Liberation Music Orchestra, blending avant-garde, big-band jazz and Latin American folk traditions with bold political statements; before his Quartet West, which played noir ballads inspired by Raymond Chandler novels and movie themes; before memorable duet recordings of spirituals and hymns, and decades of collaborations with musicians that spanned three generations of jazz’s finest players and nearly all its idioms, Haden was “Cowboy Charlie,” a precocious toddler singing his way into listeners hearts on his parents’ radio show

Haden, who died in July 2014, at the age of 76, was born into musical family that performed what he liked to call “hillbilly music.” Haden’s love for sturdy, heartfelt melody and folk traditions were touchstones through his career, evident even within complex improvised settings. He fathered a musical brood, too. His four children — Petra, Rachel, Tanya and Josh, all accomplished musicians — harmonized beautifully Tuesday night on a version of Bill Monroe’s “Voice From on High,” accompanied by guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Mark Fain. Petra then sang the folk song “Oh, Shenandoah” in honor of Haden’s birthplace, Shenandoah, Iowa. (He grew up in Springfield, Mo.)

Haden was a family man, in a sense that implies the empathy and love, the tenderness and care that gives such designation meaning. Beyond technical skills and talent, he earned distinction in music by giving what was needed to fellow players to achieve communion that feels like a blood bond; in jazz, this means unspoken understandings and honest communication offered without hesitation or judgment. It’s customary to speak of great jazz bassists in terms of advancing or redefining the instrument’s role. Yet here’s how bassist Putter Smith expressed Haden’s contribution: “He gave us bassists permission to play with the kind of intimacy a mother has with a baby.”

The evening’s performances, mostly of Haden’s compositions, made a case for his body of work as one that will endure and deserves further interpretation. The spoken testimonials, along with the documentary clips, more or less traced the path and framed the influence of one remarkable musician. Yet what came across most powerfully was how Haden, through his music, presence, and personality, built bonds that seemed familial and coursed through actual families. And we received one after another example, through music and words, of how Haden led others to reveal themselves in moving and even brave ways.

The serene intimacy of “For Turiya,” as played by tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Geri Allen, and harpist Brandee Younger, had a relevant backstory: Haden composed it in 1976, to play in duet with Alice Coltrane, Ravi’s mother, after hearing her play harp, and to honor her devotion to Hindu Vedantic practice.

Ornette Coleman, now 84, didn’t feel well enough to attend the Town Hall event. His son Denardo testified, first about Haden’s relationship with his father. “It takes a special person to be willing to go on that journey,” he said of Haden’s commitment to Coleman’s demanding music, in the face of early and stinging criticisms. “They were stubborn, together.” When Ornette appointed Denardo, then age ten, as drummer for the album “The Empty Foxhole,” it was Haden who “made me feel like a musician,” Denardo said. “He was always on a mission to lift you up.”

A quartet of tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and bassist Scott Colley played a particularly hard-hitting version of Haden’s “Blues for Pat.” Moments later, Redman’s words hit yet harder. His father, the late saxophonist Dewey Redman, had played with Haden in many distinguished contexts. Redman didn’t know his father well, he explained, but he knew his father’s records; the ones he liked best always turned out to be the ones with Haden. “Charlie brought out the love in my father’s playing — a warmth, tenderness, and honesty that few others brought out to the same degree,” he said. “In a strange way, Charlie helped me love my father.”

Guitarist Pat Metheny, who grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., recalled feeling an instant kinship based on geography upon meeting Haden 40 years ago. (They were duet partners for the Grammy-winning 1997 recording, “Beyond the Missouri Sky.”) At Town Hall, Metheny played a medley of three Haden songs on acoustic guitar — “Our Spanish Love Song,” “Waltz for Ruth,” and “First Song.” Through decades of work together, in wildly varying contexts, Metheny said, he felt a special, almost secret sense of communication with Haden. “We always played our little things,” he said. “I’ve never had that feeling again with anyone else.”

Metheny was 19 when he first met Haden, who was 17 years his elder. “But he wasn’t a father figure,” he said. “Because I felt like the older and more responsible one.”

“Charlie wasn’t a perfect person,” said Ruth Cameron Haden, his wife of 30 years, who organized the event and served as its host. He’d battled with polio as a teenager, which robbed him of his singing voice, and then, in his final years, was ravaged by post-polio syndrome. He’d struggled with drug addiction during one long stretch of his life, a fight he considered ongoing in some ways, she said. (“When I put my bass down,” she quoted him as saying, “I’m in trouble.”) But he was forever bent on improving, she said, and always fixed on a desire to “bring beauty to the world.”

It was about more than beauty, as Haden made clear throughout his career. While on tour with Ornette Coleman’s group in Portugal, in 1971, Haden dedicated his composition “Song for Ché” to the black liberation movements of Mozambique and Angola, and was promptly jailed (and soon rescued by Bob Jones, a cultural attaché to then-president Richard Nixon). His Liberation Music Orchestra’s 2005 album, “Not in Our Name,” was released as a protest against the Iraq War.

At Town Hall, Maurice Jackson, a history professor at Georgetown University and chair of the District of Columbia Commission on African American Affairs, who wrote liner notes for Haden’s recordings of spirituals, called up the legacy of the French-born pioneering American abolitionist Anthony Benezet in describing Haden’s outlook on race relations, and explained that “Charlie helped me understand the role of jazz in American politics.”

Which isn’t to say that Tuesday night’s event was overly reverent or high-minded. Haden was a gentle soul ever in search of a good laugh. The jokes he shared through the years got retold a few times onstage. (It’s rare to hear a saxophonist telling an audience, as Ravi Coltrane did: “A duck walks into a bar…”) Yet, according to comedian Richard Lewis, who praised Haden as a friend and a cultural force via video, although the bassist’s timing and tone were definitive on the bandstand, when it came to comedy — not so much. “Play jazz in heaven,” Lewis said. “But don’t tell God any jokes.”

Still, Haden’s timing seemed pretty good during one documentary excerpt, while reminiscing about a teenage moment when members of Stan Kenton’s band invited him up to their smoke-filled hotel room.

“Do you want to end up like this?” he recalled being asked.

He paused, smiled. “Well, yeah!”

Putter Smith called Haden a “charming rascal,” whose entreaties were always prefaced with the same greeting, delivered in an amiable whine — “Hey, man.” Haden’s longtime attorney, Fred Ansis, explained that, for him, it always went like this: “Hey, man: Any bread?” Ansis and Jean-Philippe Allard, Haden’s frequent producer and his stalwart advocate within the record industry, laughed about seemingly endless and often overlapping phone calls from an overly attentive Haden. “But this was all part of his laser-like focus,” said Allard, “on quality and elegance.”

Musically, Haden had an uncanny ability to find and hold deeply meditative moments, as did pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba during a riveting solo performance Tuesday night. Haden could summon sincere spiritual heft, as did Henry Butler, who played piano while singing “Deep River” in an operatic baritone. Haden regularly eased into grooves with willing partners, comfortably enough to invite unfettered expression; such was the case when pianist Brad Mehldau and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz played a freewheeling blues, during which Konitz moved seamlessly (and joyously) between playing his horn and wordless singing. Haden could craft convincing moods, as did the members of his Quartet West behind the urgent tone of tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, with bassist Scott Colley taking Haden’s place.

The concert had begun with a spiritual, “Goin’ Home” (which Haden recorded on the second of two duet recordings with pianist Hank Jones), here played by a lone trumpeter, Michael Rodriguez. At its end, Rodriguez was back, standing among the dozen members of the Liberation Music Orchestra. Carla Bley, Haden’s partner in this endeavor since its start, directed mostly from her piano bench, rising only to finesse a segue or an ending with hand motions and body language.

Anywhere, the death of a great musician is cause for gathering, for shared mourning and celebration. This is especially true in New York and New Orleans, where there are always critical masses of masterful jazz players and ready means of ritual. Those who know, know enough to show up: It’s also the impetus for rare and stellar concerts.

On Tuesday, the audience packed into Town Hall reflected Haden’s impact and reach. In one single row sat the following: singer Sheila Jordan, who, like Haden, was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, and who smiled broadly when Konitz, another Jazz Master, scatted over those blues; Lorraine Gordon, who owns the Village Vanguard, the Greenwich Village jazz club that hosted Haden throughout his career, in many bands; Henry Grimes, a bassist who began making his own liberating impact in jazz circles around the same time as Haden; Amy Goodman, whose celebrated news program, “Democracy Now!” featured Haden as an interview guest, delving deeply into the connections between his music and his commitment to social justice; and the woman in the aisle seat who explained that she’d just moved from Thailand to the U.S., and had read somewhere that this might be the best jazz concert in decades.

The Liberation Music Orchestra’s brass players and saxophonists didn’t form a procession, as they would in a New Orleans jazz funeral, nor did they begin with a dirge and then switch to a loose-limbed parade-worthy rhythm. They stood in a semi-circle, starting “Amazing Grace” and “We Shall Overcome” in the solemn manner of a brass choir, and then sliding during the middle of each piece into modern-jazz swing. (Trombonist Curtis Fowlkes’ bristling, pleading solo on the former would have fit right in during a New Orleans jazz funeral, though).

This was functional music communicating both beauty and purpose, and meant to outlive the man who set it in motion. (In fact, the Liberation Music Orchestra headed into a Manhattan recording studio on Wednesday to complete its next release.)

Before the orchestra played “We Shall Overcome,” Bley stepped up to the microphone. She didn’t talk about Haden’s music or her shared history with him, which in that moment I regretted. “Charlie loved audiences,” she said. “He appreciated them as much as they appreciated him.” Then she stared for a moment at what probably looked a lot like the community jazz sometimes forgets it has, one that a rare musician like Haden binds together as family.


Recording Session Wrap-up – Oct 3, 2014 – Avatar Studios


Gonzalo Rubalcaba Recording Sessions – Homage to Charlie Haden – Avatar Studios – Oct 1,2,3





**The following article mistakingly attributes Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s dedication of his performance at Umbria to Johnny Winter. Although we all lament the passing of the great blues/rock guitarist, it must be clarified that Gonzalo dedicated his performance to Charlie Haden. Charlie was instrumental in Gonzalo’s sucess and was a very dear friend.  

Umbria Jazz Festival 2014

Gonzalo Rubalcaba viene considerato da alcuni critici, e non a torto, uno tra i più grandi pianisti jazz contemporanei viventi. Nella sua carriera ci sono anche 8 nomination ai Grammy, che non sembrano essere davvero poca cosa per un artista. Il suo tratto caratteristico è l’umanità e la forte partecipazione emotiva delle sue esibizioni, sempre frutto di nuovi progetti. Appena terminata la fase decisamente poetica ed intima suonata in trio, ecco aprirsi quella nuova e scoppiettante di Volcan, il nuovo album dedicato ai 4 elementi, terra, aria, vento e fuoco. Per questo nuovo lavoro, la formazione scelta da Rubalcaba è quella del quartetto con protagonisti del calibro di Horacio ”El Negro” Hernandez alla batteria, Jose Armando Gola al basso sei corde e Giovanni Hidalgo alle percussioni.
Senza mai abbandonare le tradizionali sonorità della terra di origine, il pianista cubano mette in scena tutta la capacità compositiva del jazzista di rango, usando il pianoforte ma anche la tastiera elettrica. Impressionante la differenza di tocco rispetto a Hiromi e Camilo. Rubalcaba vola e non da la sensazione di “pestare” i tasti per ottenere un suono deciso e potente, rimanendo comunque incollato alla tastiera in tutti suoi passaggi più complessi. Volcan è un lavoro molto interessante ed ha delle idee compositive che lo rendono del tutto originale, come i vorticosi cambi di passo tra accenni di son cubano e assoli di puro stampo jazzistico. Pur sempre metà e metà, a quanto pare.
L’animo nobile di Rubalcaba trova spazio nel concerto per una dedica a  Johnny Winter** , l’albino del rock scomparso ieri a 70 anni.
Nel complesso il pubblico di Perugia è soddisfatto ed applaude con partecipazione, andando fin sotto il palco, come ancora non ci era capitato di vedere in questa edizione.


My Dear Friend Charlie Haden, I love you very much and always will…


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Nocturna consagración

Charlie Haden y Gonzalo Rubalcaba fusionan jazz y bolero en ‘Nocturne’, un disco para coleccionar.

por ARSENIO RODRíGUEZ, Barcelona
En 2002 Gonzalo Rubalcaba, a quien por años se le resistió el premio Grammy, se ha visto recompensado con un par de ellos.

En septiembre la entrega de los Grammys Latinos dio la alegría a los seguidores del jazz cubano cuando Bebo Valdés (El Arte del sabor), Chucho Valdés (Canciones inéditas) y el propio Rubalcaba (Supernova) fueron premiados en las diferentes categorías a que estaban nominados. El hecho jerarquiza a la escuela criolla como una de las mejores del mundo. Ello adquiere más relevancia si se añade a la fiesta el disco Nocturne (Verve, 2001), que se alzó en los Grammys americanos como mejor disco de latin jazz, y donde puede encontrarse nuevamente a Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Junto con Charlie Haden definió el repertorio del CD, puso canciones suyas, realizó la producción conjunta y, como era de esperar, tocó en todas las piezas como sólo él sabe hacerlo desde que dejó la percusión para dedicarse al piano. Es bastante injusto que en la portadilla sólo aparezca Haden (seguramente una estrategia de mercado para encausar la placa en el ámbito inglés).

Es la primera vez que Gonzalo y Haden hacen un monotemático de boleros, y el disco demuestra que el jazz está muy cerca del género romántico por excelencia. Particularmente para ambos músicos, Nocturne es el capítulo último de una amistad de más de quince años, que comenzó cuando se conocieron en el Festival de Jazz de La Habana. Rubalcaba sólo tenía 23 años.

En el disco hay tres versiones de piezas creadas, inicialmente, por autores que las generaron bajo la influencia del filin; una de ellas, El borde del mundo, nada menos que de Martín Rojas. Aquí Gonzalo diserta con una introducción influenciada por los maestros de la pianística europea clásica, aunque luego se moverá en el tango con fuerte presencia del bolero. La segunda pieza del CD, No empeñes más, de Marta Valdés, es un típico bolero-filin, como apunta sabiamente Leonardo Acosta. En él puede apreciarse que Gonzalo, como en su anterior Supernova, ha ganado suficiente con el silencio y las suaves modulaciones en sus solos con la mano derecha, lo que antes se empeñaba en demostrar con buenas furias y notable virtuosismo. La tercera pieza filin —que cierra el CD—, Contigo en la distancia, viene en un kit-dual con otro tema (En nosotros, de Tania Castellanos). En la versión que ambos músicos hacen de aquella destaca, de manera casi sobrenatural, la manera en que Charlie Haden dice nota a nota, con el bajo acústico, cada silaba del comienzo de la canción; los solos que ejecuta lo introducen inapelablemente en el Olimpo de los mejores bajistas de su generación, a la altura de Charles Mingus o Ron Carter.

Los boleristas cubanos clásicos no están olvidados en este acercamiento, y ahí está la figura de Osvaldo Farrés —con una de sus excelentes piezas, Tres palabras— para demostrarlo. Farrés, con Acércate más, Toda una vida, Quizás quizás, Para que sufras o Madrecita, en su momento aseguró la inmortalidad de Nat King Cole y Antonio Machín, entre otros. La economía de recursos literarios conseguida en Tres palabras es la que imita Gonzalo en la extensión de su particular versión, quizá rindiéndole merecido homenaje al autor.

No sólo se nutre el disco con boleros y filin nacionales: el bolero mejicano está representado con Yo sin ti, de Arturo Castro, Nocturnal, de Sabre Marroquin/José Mujica, Noche de ronda, de María Teresa Lara y, cómo no, El Ciego, de Armando Manzanero.

Con tales argumentos la placa, corte tras corte, se va metiendo en los bares, en la noche, en el amor, en cada cuerpo… ofreciendo gratas sorpresas: el violín del uruguayo Federico Britos, que por momentos parece sacado de un disco de Django Reinhardt, o el saxo de Joe Lovano, con un apreciable solo en Moonlight, sin olvidar al guitarrista Pat Metheny en Noche de ronda. Por último, hay que prestar especial atención al maravilloso acompañamiento que hace Ignacio Berroa, quien a veces usa las escobillas de la batería como maracas. Como recomendó el propio Charlie Haden en Barcelona, compren el disco, grábenlo de algún amigo o bájenlo en MP3, que bien merece el gusto.

Bruce Lundvall

Charlie Haden Videos

The Great Charlie Haden

The Great Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Haden in Pescara Italy, 1990
Background information
Birth name Charles Edward Haden
Born August 6, 1937 (age 73)
Origin Shenandoah, IowaU.S.
Genres Free jazz
Mainstream jazz
Hard bop
Occupations Double bassist
Instruments Double bass
Years active 1957–present
Associated acts Ornette ColemanPat Metheny,Liberation Music Orchestra, Quartet West

Charles Edward Haden (born August 6, 1937)[1] is an American jazz musician. He is a double bassist, probably best known for his long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Haden is also known for his signature lyrical bass lines and is one of the most respected bassists and jazz composers today.

Haden was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, and raised in a musical family, which often performed together on the radio playing country music and American folk songs. Haden made his professional debut as a singer when he was two years old, and continued singing with his family until he contracted a mild form of polio when he was 15.[1] The polio damaged his throat muscles and vocal cords, and as a result, Haden was unable to control his pitch while singing. A few years before contracting polio, Haden had become interested in jazz, and began playing his older brother’s double bass. Eventually he set his sights on Los Angeles, and to save money for the trip took a job as house bassist for ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri.


Haden moved to Los Angeles in 1957, and quickly began playing professionally, including stints with pianistHampton Hawes and saxophonist Art Pepper. He began playing with Ornette Coleman in the late 1950s. Their first record together is The Shape of Jazz to Come.[1] Haden’s counterpoint to Coleman was full of his Ozarkian folk song. This folk element related naturally to Coleman’s microtonal Texas blues. In the rhythm section, Haden and Billy Higgins both could play with a classic jazz feel, but they also could experiment. On the first track on The Shape of Jazz to Come, “Lonely Woman,” Haden does not not keep time but inhabits a slow dirge while Higgins plays at twice or three times the tempo.

Besides his association with Ornette Coleman, Haden was also a member of Keith Jarrett‘s trio and “American quartet” from 1967 to 1976 with Paul Motian and Dewey Redman.[1] He played in the collectiveOld and New Dreams.[1]

He went on to lead the Liberation Music Orchestra in the 1970s. Largely arranged by Carla Bley, their music was very experimental, exploring the realms of free jazz and political music at the same time; the first album focused specifically on the Spanish Civil War. The LMO has had a shifting membership comprising a “who’s who” of jazz instrumentalists. Through Bley’s arranging, they have concentrated on a wide palette of brass instruments, including tuba, French horn, and trombone, in addition to the more standard trumpet and reed section. The LMO’s 1982 album “The Ballad of the Fallen” commented again on the Spanish Civil War as well as the political instability and United States involvement in Latin America. In 1990, the orchestra returned with “Dream Keeper,” a more heterogeneous album which drew on American gospel music and South African music to comment on politics in Latin America and apartheid in South Africa. The album featured choral contributions from the Oakland Youth Chorus.

In 1971, while on tour in Portugal (at the time under a fascist dictatorship), Haden decided to dedicate a performance of his “Song for Che” to the anticolonialist revolutionaries in the Portuguese colonies of MozambiqueAngola, and Guinea-Bissau. The following day, he was detained at the Lisbon airport, jailed, and interrogated by the DGS (the Portuguese secret police). He was promptly released the same day after the intervention of the American cultural attaché, though he was later interviewed by the FBI in the United States about his choice of dedication.[2]

Haden in Gent, Belgium, 2007

Thematic exploration of genres not typically considered to be jazz standards became one of the signature approaches of the Charlie Haden Quartet West. Started in 1987, the Quartet consists of Ernie Watts on sax, Alan Broadbent on piano, and Larance Marable on drums. Quartet West’s albums feature lush, romantic arrangements by Broadbent, often with strings, of music from the 1930s and 1940s, often music associated with films of that period.

Haden has also been active over the years working in duets with pianists such as Hank JonesKenny Barron, andDenny Zeitlin. He has explored spiritual hymns with Jones, American folk music in American Hymns, and Cuban folk music in Nocturne. A brief collaboration with Joe Henderson and Al Foster — players not normally associated with Haden or his immediate circle—show how distinctive Haden’s voice is in a pure, hard-driving jazz context.

In 1989, Haden was featured at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and performed in concert every night of the festival, with different combos and bands. Each of these events was recorded, and most have been released in the series The Montreal Tapes.

In late 1996, he collaborated with Pat Metheny on the album Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories), exploring the music that influenced them in their childhood experiences in Missouri with what they call “contemporary impressionistic americana.”

Haden reconvened Liberation Music Orchestra in 2005, with largely new members, for the album Not In Our Name, released on Verve Records. The album dealt primarily with the contemporary political situation in the United States.

A feature length documentary Charlie Haden is in production.[3]

Haden’s most recent release, Rambling Boy, features several members of his immediate family, along with Béla FleckPat MethenyElvis Costello, and others. The album, released on 23 September 2008, hearkens back to his days of playing Americana and bluegrass music with his parents on their radio show. A concert tour with Quartet West (with a new drummer) was scheduled for the late summer.


His son Josh Haden is a bass guitarist and singer. He recorded with 1980s punk band Trecherous Jaywalkers (who recorded for SST Records), and is presently a member of Spain. His triplet daughters, PetraTanya and Rachel Haden, are all musicians. Petra and Rachel were in that dog.; Petra was a member of progressive folk group The Decemberists, Rachel played in the rock band, The Rentals, and Tanya is married to actor Jack Black.


As Leader or Co-leader

As sideman

With Ornette Coleman

With Keith Jarrett

With Paul Motian

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Ringo Starr

With Others


External links

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