Time out for beauty: Charley Haden RIP



Beauty will save the world.
Fyodor Dostoevski in The Idiot


Please some relief from the endless suffering in the Middle East.


We present the life of the recently deceased jazz bassist Charlie Haden, a testament to the power of beauty and the healing ministrations of  music.


I want to take people away from the ugliness and sadness around us every day and bring beautiful, deep music to as many people as I can,” Haden said in a 2013 interview with The Associated Press shortly before receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award.


This jazz master made the bass sing in new ways and with different collaborators. A groundbreaker with “free jazz” saxophonist Ornette Coleman in the 50s Haden kept moving. One of his greatest strengths was his deep visceral understanding of humanity’s struggle for liberation,It seemed to suffuse his playing.
His evolution was astounding. He came from a well known background of country music. From the age of two he sang with The Haden Family then was struck with polio which damaged his vocal chords. At 15  he turned to the bass and jazz, his musical world lit up by the seminal Charlie Parker.
Haden never forgot the roots of jazz as a revolutionary art form, a radical identification with people’s struggles. He  was ailed for his support of the anti-colonial movements in Portuguese Africa and  had no time for The Bush wars. His Liberation Music Orchestra. mixed songs from the Spanish Civil War, antiwar songs and a tribute to Che Guevera. He remounted this band as a protest against the Bush invasion of Iraq. This  he called Not in My Name.

In the mid 80s he launched Quartet west with pianist Alan Broadbent.and tenor Ernie Watts. They produced a series of lyrical Be bop albums which owed much to film noir Latterly Haden’s stunning bass lines lit up duet albums with jazz giants Kenny Barron, Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett.

Charlie Haden lived a life of gratitude.A few years ago he told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman
I wouldn’t do anything different, except I would seek out as many musicians dedicated to life the way I am and dedicated to beauty the way I am, because it’s not really about categories, like jazz, it’s about beautiful music and playing music from all over the world with other musicians who are dedicated, because it’s up to us to bring beauty back into this world. It’s up to people in the arts, the painters, the writers, the composers, the dance troupes, everybody, the actors, the people who write poetry. You know, it’s up to us to try to make a difference in this world and try to make this planet a better to live for all the human beings and stop the cruelty and the devastation that’s going on, you know, and have a great place.


A few years ago Haden came to the CBC concert place and by an accident I ran into him lugging his bass out to a car. He was a amazingly humble when I thanked him for his profound commitment to the human project.


His final album ironically titled Last Dance was released in June of this year It is a stunning collaboration with the piano colossus Keith Jarrett.


Soul music—much like the other dozen Haden disks I play.




  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Well Ted, just as you have said many times over “Celibacy doesn’t work” – there seems to beuch evidence Pope Francis is wanting to make some changes…

    AFP By Olivier BAUBE 21 hours ago
    Vatican City (AFP) – Pope Francis’s hints about a possible opening on the issue of married priests are sowing confusion in the Vatican and among Catholic reformists and conservatives alike.

    Twice in three months, Francis has talked about changes to the tradition of celibate priests — although he has never been precise about how exactly this could be reformed.

    On a flight back from his trip to the Middle East, Francis pointed out that there were already married priests in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Coptic Catholic churches.

    “The door is always open but we are not talking about it now as the order of the day,” the Argentine pontiff said.

    It is a priority, however, for the dozens of campaign groups that have sprung up — many formed by men who have been forced to leave the priesthood to get married.

    The European Federation of Married Catholic Priests estimated more than 100,000 former Catholic priests have got married over the years — a figure which would make up around a quarter of the number of current priests.

    Earlier this year, 26 women who said they were in love with priests living in Italy, wrote an open letter to the pope asking for a Vatican audience and speaking of their “suffering” because of the secret lives they have to lead.

    – New bombshell –

    Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli said at the time that Francis was particularly sensitive to the issue as, when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was close to an Argentine bishop who renounced the priesthood for love.

    The pope’s comments over the weekend have had the effect of a new bombshell after La Repubblica daily in an interview quoted him as saying on priestly celibacy: “There are solutions and I will find them.”

    The comments were immediately denied by Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi who said that the interviewer — the newspaper’s 90-year-old founder, Eugenio Scalfari — had not written down the exact quotations.

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