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Miles Davis circa 1955; Duke Ellington; Louis Armstrong; Cover of Sheet Music by Fats Waller
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Biographies, Life and times of the great ones Billie Holiday in Performance 1948; Benny Goodman 1936; Art Blakey at the Open Door in NYC; Awning of Village Vanguard 1960's
Charlie Haden

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Charles Edward (1937- ) Double bass player

Charlie Haden first played in Los Angeles with Art Pepper (1957), Paul Bley (1957-9), and Hampton Hawes (1958-9), then in 1959 traveled to New York with Ornette Coleman. He became a member of Danny Zeitlin's trio and worked with, among others, Archie Shepp. Haden recorded with Coleman in 1966 and the following year rejoined his group and also began an association with Keith Jarrett. Although he has preformed principally as a sideman, Haden won critical attention in 1969 with his own album Liberation Music Orchestra, which consisted of a number of revolutionary and freedom songs, including Haden's own composition Song for Che. Around the same time, he also played with Carla Bley and the Jazz Composer's Orchestra. In 1976, with Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, and Ed Blackwell (all former sidemen with Coleman), Haden formed the group Old and New Dreams, and the same year he recorded an outstanding series of duets with various musicians, which were issued on two albums. Haden continued to perform in the 1980s, and in 1982 recorded with a new Liberation Music Orchestra made up of members of Carla Bley's group and Old and New Dreams; the band toured the USA into the mid-1980s.

Haden has a large, warm tone, the subtle vibrato, richness, and manipulations of which are central elements in his improvisational vocabulary. In contrast to most jazz double bass players of his period, Haden is concerned with simplicity and traditional conceptions of accompaniment rather than weaving intricate underpinnings and producing horn-like solos. Haden was the perfect bass player for Coleman because he instantaneously aligned himself with the shifting directions and continuous modulations that typified Coleman's freely improvised lines. His accomplishments unified the improvisations of the saxophonist and helped the ensemble to swing, something that the horn lines could not always do by themselves.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only. Copying or other reproduction is prohibited.
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