Charlie Haden, a three-time Grammy award-winning jazz bassist, has died at 76, according to his label, ECM.
The Ottawa Citizen on Friday published a statement from ECM publicist Tina Pelikan:
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.
Haden had been suffering for the last few years from the effects of post-polio syndrome, according to the Citizen.
A bout with polio at 15 damaged nerves in Haden’s vocal cords and ended his singing career, but he continued to play the bass, Variety adds.
The legendary musician founded the CalArts Jazz Program in 1982 and had taught there until recently. David Rosenboom, dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, told KPCC of an inspirational moment when he walked into one of the Haden's classrooms while he was teaching:
"There was a student playing, and Charlie was coaching him and he was a bass player. The student was questioning Charlie about a certain structure in the music and what to do. He says, 'How do I know what to do here?' And Charlie looked at him and said, 'Man,' as Charlie often says, 'if you are really honest with yourself, you'll know what to do.' And that was it."
Haden's daughter Petra, who is also a musician, spoke with Take Two's Alex Cohen last year about playing with her dad on a cover of David Bowie's "This Is Not America." She said it was the first time her dad played on one of her records.
"It finally worked out that he came down to the studio," she said. "Immediately when he started playing I just, I could feel my eyes well up — it was just beautiful. Any note that he played, the way he plays it just makes the song 100 times better."
In 2012, Haden was inducted into the National Endowment for the Arts class of Jazz Masters. Unable to attend, Petra gave an acceptance speech on his behalf. She read the following excerpt when she spoke to NPR:
"I learned at a very young age that music teaches you about life. When you're in the midst of improvisation, there is no yesterday and no tomorrow — there is just the moment that you are in. In that beautiful moment, you experience your true insignificance to the rest of the universe. It is then, and only then, that you can experience your true significance."
Haden had recently released an album with pianist Keith Jarrett that hit No. 1 on Billboard's traditional jazz chart, according to the Associated Press.
"Last Dance" is drawn from informal 2007 sessions at Jarrett's home studio that reunited the pianist and bassist Charlie Haden for the first time in more than three decades and yielded the Grammy-nominated 2010 CD, "Jasmine," AP's Charles J. Gans reported Friday in a music review published before news broke about Haden's death.
Gans noted there was a sense of joy in the album that came from hearing two jazz masters in a relaxed, intimate setting, complementing, supporting and listening intensely to each other without wasting any notes. But, he wrote, there was also a sense of sadness stemming from his recent illness:
The sadness comes from the realization that this indeed might be this masterful duet's "last dance" together because shortly after the release of "Jasmine," Haden suffered an onset of post-polio syndrome which has led to a hiatus from touring and recording. That gives an added poignancy to the three closing tracks, "Where Can I Go Without You," ''Everytime We Say Goodbye" and "Goodbye"— two of which are alternate versions of takes heard on "Jasmine" — poignant tales of loss.
This story has been updated.