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Charlie Haden passes on July 11

Jul 13, 2014 Charlie Haden passes on July 11

My blog tributes to those who have passed away are infrequent, being reserved for those who have most profoundly influenced me. This month, though, has merited two such posts, the first being about Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who died on July 3. The second one follows, about Charlie Haden, who passed away on July 11, 2014.

Around 1980, I heard the 1979 Old and New Dreams album, which particularly with “Guinea“,  brought me closer than I ever had before to appreciating and enjoying free-form jazz, if it can be called that.

In 1983, I experienced Old and New Dreams live at the now-defunct Jonathan Swift’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The performance was very good.

Then I started learning more about Ornette Coleman, whose then-former bandmembers formed Old and New Dreams, comprised of Charlie Haden, Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, and Dewey Redman. Until a few days ago, Charlie Haden was the sole surviving member of Old and New Dreams. He departed his body on July 11, 2014, at 76 years old.

Nearly a year ago, I started seeing some interesting Twitter posts by Mr. Haden. I started following him on Twitter, and he soon started following me thereafter. Here are some things I have observed about Charlie Haden:

– Haden performed country music with his family before turning to jazz.

– The “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Rolltitle riff comes from Haden’s riff in “Old Joe Clark“, which Haden also inserted into “Lonely Woman” and Ornette Coleman’s Change of the Century.

– Jack Black was Haden’s son-in-law, and once sang “Old Joe Clarkwith Haden.

– Haden talks about “Wanting to give your life for what you’re doing.”

–  Charlie Haden closed his eyes, in the presence of bass greats (1959). Then Leonard Bernstein came on stage.

– Haden got interrogated in 1971 dictatorial Portugal for dedicating “Song for Che” to the liberation movements in Mozambique and Angola. An American diplomat got him released. Although I am no fan of Che Guevera nor of violent uprising, I give credit to Haden for having taken his own stand against the Portuguese dictatorship.

Thanks, Charlie Haden, for your contributions to music and creativity.

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