On Jan. 13, jazz greats, family and friends gather at The Town Hall in New York City to celebrate the life of Charlie Haden—the late jazz bassist, composer, faculty and founder of the Jazz Studies Program at The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.
Haden, who passed away last year at age 76, pioneered a “brazen, polytonal approach to improvisation” now known as free jazz. In NPR’s tribute to Haden, Slate columnist and Stereophile magazine jazz critic Fred Kaplan talks about Haden’s influence on jazz:
Before Charlie, most bassists kept time. Say, if a pianist was playing a C-chord, they would play the C note and maybe some other notes. Charlie is called a free jazz musician and some people think that means abstract or chaotic. What it means is that, you know, he was a romantic. He loved nothing more than a beautiful melody. But he didn’t like to be boxed in with a chord structure. So he would take what he was doing, where he wanted to go—he would play a bit of the melody, a counter melody. He would open it up to an entirely different direction, but somehow bring it right back down to earth. He greatly expanded, almost limitlessly, the role that a bass player had, while keeping perfect time.
Musicians playing at the tribute include Haden’s children Josh Haden and the Haden Triplets [Tanya (Film/Video BFA 98), Rachel and Petra (Music 93)], his wife Ruth Cameron-Haden, his ensembles, Charlie Haden Quartet West [Alan Broadbent, Ernie Watts, and Rodney Green, with Scott Colley (Music BFA 88) on bass] and Liberation Music Orchestra (Bley, Tony Malaby, Chris Cheek, Loren Stillman, Michael Rodriguez, Seneca Black, Curtis Fowlkes, Vincent Chancey, Joe Daley, Steve Cardenas and Matt Wilson, with Steve Swallow on bass). Other musicians Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, Carla Bley, Jack DeJohnette, Denardo Coleman, Ravi Coltrane (Music MFA 99), Bill Frisell, Ethan Iverson, Maurice Jackson, Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Josh Redman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Brandee Younger will also perform.
The event is free and open to the public, with donations accepted at the venue to benefit the Charlie Haden CalArts Scholarship Fund, which assists jazz students in need.
Celebrating Charlie Haden 1937-2014: a memorial and celebration of his life
Jan. 13, 7 pm
The Town Hall
123 W. 43rd St., NYC