Posted by Jay Livingston
At age 22, Charlie Haden was the bassist the original Ornette Coleman quartet. He had already been playing for a couple of years with bebop pianist Hampton Hawes. Ornette played music that, at the time (1959), was considered so far out that many listeners dismissed it as noise. (“They play ‘Some of These Days’ in five different keys simultaneously.”) Ornette became even freer, moving even further from the basic changes, and Charlie followed along.
Haden was also a very melodic bass player. That’s especially clear in his duo work with guitarists like Pat Metheny and Egberto Gismonti and pianists Keith Jarrett, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron (“Night and the City” is one of my favorite albums). He remained rooted in bebop, notably as leader of Quartet West (with Ernie Watts, the man responsible for my giving up saxophone).
He had polio as a child in Iowa, and in recent years suffered from post-polio syndrome.
Here is a brief video made at the time Charlie recorded the duo album with Keith Jarrett, who does much of the talking here.