Sunday, July 20, 2014


First, some of you might've recently watched this monumental solo performance of "Lonely Woman" by Charlie Haden... if not, you gotta:

Did any of you catch the massive quote he drops starting at 2:27?

If not, see if you can place the song. The answer is here but no cheating! Hint: It's not a jazz quote.

Second, there's such a great duo by Keith Jarrett and Haden at around the 48:10 mark of this excellent Haden documentary Rambling Boy:

Charlie Haden - Rambling Boy from PiXiU FILMS on Vimeo.

I've always admired Keith Jarrett but I don't think I've ever really understood, or enjoyed, his music as much as I do in this very off-the-cuff performance on what sounds like a standard that I don't know the name of. The reason is the accompaniment; Charlie lays down the harmonic structure of the song so heavy and plain, Jarrett is able to absolutely tap-dance his way through the whole tune, and he does put on a show. Then just watch Charlie, who you thought was the straight man, power his way through a superb solo, never looking at his fingers once. It's so good that it ends with a genuine hug and one of Haden's all-time best utterances of "yeah, man."

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I say I'm done making RIP blog posts, and then in one day, Charlie Haden, Tommy Ramone, and Chris Grier all pass away. Maybe I should start a blog or a magazine called Passages and just write about great and important musicians when they leave us. Regardless, each one of these three deserves pages and pages of tribute, and you can type any of their names in twitter and see why. For example, this is a great tweet about Tommy Ramone (as an experienced engineer and producer, he was the mostly unheralded sonic conceptualist for the Ramones), and I'll link to my own tweet about Chris Grier (seriously, NOISE AGAINST FASCISM FOREVER).

But Charlie Haden is simply one of my favorite musicians who has ever played a note. I honestly don't think he ever wasted a note. He played the bass, but more accurately he played MUSIC. As it says on his wikipedia page, "He believed that all music originates from the same place, and because of this, he resisted the tendency to divide music into categories." 

He also had this stunning insight about improvisation in a 2008 NPR interview "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."

He also always looked cool as hell, especially on the This Is Our Music cover photo. Personally, I've always felt a special connection to him because he grew up in a small Iowa town 20 miles from the small Iowa town I grew up in . . . in fact, his town was a little bigger than mine and it's where I bought my first records, which were actually not The Shape Of Jazz To Come but Kiss Rock and Roll Over and Queen News of the World . . . but enough about me. Here's some tweets about Charlie:

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