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Charlie Haden on William Parker

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Confucius, May 6, 2005.


  1. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
    Just was flipping through the new Downbeat Magazine which features a "live blindfold test" with Charlie Haden. They play some records for Charlie and he reacts in front of a live audience apparently. I was a bit shocked to read what happened when they played a William Parker track for him. He asks them to stop playing it because it is somehow painful for him to listen to since it sounds "out of tune" and with an overly repetitive background part. Then he says something about not knowing who William Parker is. I love both of them so it was strange to see this for me.
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    With music, 'who' doesn't really matter. The music speaks for itself, and that cut apparently did speak to CH. :)
     
  3. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
    Thats the point of the blindfold part :)
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My point, exactly!

    Although I was running under a mis-read of your original post. Sorry about that.
     
  5. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
    The Dave Holland comments definitely seemed a little mean spirited as well. Perhaps Charlie was drunk or something.
     
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Charlie doesn't drink, AFAIK...except mineral water, the coupla times I met him. And he didn't seem to have a mean bone in his body.
     
  7. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    Sounds like Charlie can be a bit defensive. Whatever Holland sounded like to Charlie I guarantee it wasn't non-musical.
     
  8. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I'm surprised Charlie would say such a thing about Dave Holland. Even blindfolded, I would think he could tell Holland's sound apart from other bassists. Maybe he just used the blindfold as an excuse to speak his mind with impunity.
     
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    It's pretty hard to tell what a person's trying to say when you're reading it in print, as we've discovered here at TB on more than one occasion. For instance, if you see someone called a "mother*****r" in print, it can either be a diss or the highest complement, depending on how it's delivered, and it's impossible to tell unless you're hearing it out loud.
     
  10. JPBass

    JPBass

    Aug 31, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I read it too. The Parker reference seemed a put down. However the Holland one didnt seem like a pan to me - just stating a different playing style. By linear was taking about scaler lines as opposed to chordal lines?
     
  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Hmmm...the blindfold test is really a form of interview, and it seems that the only rule is to say what you think about Track A, B or C. He said what he thought; to him, it sounded out of tune, which made it painful to listen to...funny, since he plays so much with Ornette :eyebrow:... and that he didn't know who William Parker is. That doesn't sound like a slam to me, just the truth as it applies to the cut the guy played for him.

    I think it falls more under the heading; "You asked me, so I told you".

    Here's some more Haden blindfold stuff;http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/51/archive-burk4.php

    I don't mean to flog a dead one. I'm just having a hard time reconciling "mean-spirited" and "Charlie Haden" in the same phrase. It hasn't been my experience.
     
  12. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
    Marcus - I was only calling the comment a little mean spirited. That doesn't mean I think he is a mean spirited person in general.

    Saying a double bassist sounds like a bass guitar player is an insult when you know how Haden feels about bass guitar. At another point he talks about how he was upset when Steve Swallow switched to bass guitar but praised him for making that instrument sound a bit more like a double bass than is typical.

    And by saying maybe he was drunk or something I really only meant to imply that he could have not been himself at that moment for whatever reason. And he very well may only drink mineral water now unlike the old post-heroin days.
     
  13. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    I probably should go read the interview before expressing an opinion on the matter, but I will say that I can understand Haden's comment on the "bass guitar-ishness" of Dave Hollands playing. I think it's a reaction to his near perfect prescision. While to many this is a virtue, there are some who find it dull and rather mechanical. I have to say that I love Holland's playing in the context of his music, or other contemporary sounding stuff, but years ago when I heard him with Tommy Flanagan, I found his lines to be uninspired and conventional. It's like it was just too easy for him.
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    First, I don't think Charlie needs to be "defensive" about anything. He's at a point in his career (and what a career it has been ) that he can play with ANYONE he wants to, ANYTIME he wants to.

    Second, he's listening pretty hard for some pretty specific things in folks playing. And if he hears them, it doesn't matter where they are in the musical spectrum, he heard something that communicated, and if he DIDN'T hear it, likewise.

    Thirdly, and this seems to be the case for an awful lot of high level players, they have this sense of "how things should go". My teacher, Joe, went to Paris for a minute and when he was there, he looked up Kenny Clarke and hung out all day with him. And that was one of the things that he said Kenny talked about and the way he came up. That he just had this "sense" of how the drums were supposed to sound, and how he would be in a club and it would be all he could do not to take the sticks away from the drummer and say "No, like THIS". Not from any sense of ego or selfrighteousness, but because he had a clear and very specific picture of how he wanted the instrument to sound in the music he was involved with.

    Lastly, having a strong opinion is NOT something to avoid. Everyone has opinions, that are based on their own personal experiences. But everyone has different experiences. Just because someone you admire (or revile) has an opinion that differs from yours doesn't INVALIDATE your experience. It may want to make you THINK ABOUT WHY YOU FEEL THE WAY YOU FEEL. There's a funny NEW YORKER cartoon, mother and young son in a museum standing in front of some paintings and the caption (mother speaking to son) is "Instead of 'It sucks', you could say 'it doesn't speak to me.'" It seems, in some ways, that the objection is not so much to Charlie having an opinion about somebody's playing but the fact that he voiced it in such a matter of fact way, instead of ameliorating it for public consumption. Well, in a lot of ways, that's akin to playing the notes I think you might want me to play. Instead of playing the notes I'm hearing.

    Personally, I'd rather hear what Charlie really thinks, than what he thinks I might be able to get with.


    Oh, and when I was around him he wasn't drinking mineral water. He was drinking A LOT of coffee.
     
  15. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
     
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I don't know whether to laugh or make a noise with another opening.
     
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    How 'bout both at the same time?
     
  18. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
    Make my day :cool:
     
  19. mister_k

    mister_k

    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles

    I'm havin a hell of a time picturing Charlie sitting through a song by Carcass.

    Jesus.

    good link though, Marcus.

    K.
     
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.

    from "FELIX THE CAT"

    " You'll laugh so much
    your sides will ache,
    your other opening will go..."