Jazz Bassist Charlie Haden R.I.P. 1937-2014


“Intuitive” stylist additionally sired an entire musical family.

By Fred Mills

The jazz world is mourning the lost of another hugely influential personality: Charlie Haden, who passed away yesterday (July 11) in Los Angeles at the age of 76. The New York Times reports that “for the last several years he had been struggling with the degenerative effects of post-polio syndrome, related to the polio he contracted in his youth.”

His label, ECM, issued the following statement: “It is with deep sorrow that we announce that Charlie Haden, born August 6, 1937 in Shenandoah, Iowa, passed away today at 10:11 Pacific time in Los Angeles after a prolonged illness. Ruth Cameron, his wife of 30 years, and his children Josh Haden, Tanya Haden, Rachel Haden and Petra Haden were all by his side.”

The Iowa-born Haden played with scores of other jazz greats—among them, Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, as part of the Ornette Coleman Quartet in the early ‘60s—as well as fronting his own ensembles, notably the Liberation Music Orchestra. In 2012 he received the National Endowment for the Arts “Jazz Master” title, and in 2013 also received a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys. Worth noting, too, is that he was not only born into a family of musicians called The Haden Family, he had four children who became popular musicians: Josh, Petra, Rachel and Tanya.

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