Charlie Haden

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About Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden emerged from America’s heartland to exert a deceptively understated yet outsize influence on jazz history. Born in Shenandoah, IA, in 1937, Haden first sang in the Haden Family country band at the age of two. He discovered Charlie Parker as a teenager and left for Los Angeles in 1957. There, he joined saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking quartet, reinventing the double bass as a prominent component of 1959’s harmonically liberated The Shape of Jazz to Come. After moving to New York, Haden added his warm tone and elegant simplicity to ensembles led by Denny Zeitlin and Keith Jarrett. He launched the proudly political Liberation Music Orchestra in 1969, joined other former Coleman band members as Old and New Dreams in 1976, and blended noir and nostalgia a decade later in his Quartet West. A passionate duettist, Haden won his first Grammy for 1997’s Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) with Pat Metheny, and two Latin Grammys for early-2000s collaborations with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Haden returned to his folk roots on 2008’s Rambling Boy, one of his final releases before his death in 2014.

Shenandoah, IA, United States
6 August 1937

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