1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Why Haden???

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Dudie, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. Dudie


    Apr 26, 2004
    Please tell me why Charlie Haden is so great? I`ve heard some records and yesterday i looked on a video, from a jazz-festival in Germany, with Metheny and Haden, and i must say that i realy cant see that BIG greatness in his work. He played out of tune and looked unsure of himself.

    Maybe im stupid, help me :help:

    / ola
  2. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I would say that you are not stupid. Different players speak to different people.

    What I can say is that I like Haden, partly, for what he is not.

    To me Haden's playing if very modern but grounded in tradition. While you won't likely find him playing blazing 32nd notes in upper register, you will find him laying down the low end with the best of them.

    I enjoy his playing for his its beauty. When I listen to Haden play (b/c of his hearing problems at loud volumes) the latter part of his career he has played in smaller and quieter groups. This is why I enjoy his playing so much. This situation creates a different dynamic entirely.
    To me I love that he can play some of the most simple lines (technique wise) but they sound awesome. His note choice comes from deep within (IMO). I only wish I had his ears and Harmonic sense.

    I guess what I am trying to say is Haden approachs the music as a musician, the bass happens to be the instrument of choice. Mingus also comes to mind. While he was a monster, he would play what was right for the tune, not for him.
  3. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I am a huge Charlie Haden fan.

    To me, he is more than a bassist, he's a great all-round musician. I don't think he ever sought to be a blazing technical virtuoso bassist - his bandleading and composing is important too (Liberation Music Orchestra is a brilliant album).

    I have learned from him about space, choice of notes, and getting a GORGEOUS tone. Learning to play LESS notes, and more QUALITY notes.

    He is also innovative. Listen to the first Ornette albums (after Red Mitchell) - he was one of the first bassists to play free (plus he still sounded like a bass!)

    If he doesn't move you, hey, that's cool. We're not all supposed to like the same things. I for one, don't get much out of Eddie Gomez, Jaco, or Ron Carter (his albums mostly) - doesn't mean they're not great - just that they don't "speak" to me.

    I think it's Don Higdon who can't stand Haden. He should have some interesting comments.....
  4. There's an Ornette Coleman record called Free Jazz. This is a double quartet... 2 of each instrument......Without going into great detail on personnel, the two bassists are Charlie Haden and Scott Lafaro. Talk about two opposites in terms of technique! Charlie is really very good at using colors on a bass palette. Both players know their role on the bass solo section....Charlies back-up of Scotts brilliant solo is one of the best formed bass duets i've ever heard.
    Charlies playing, to me, is pretty egoless and he certainly isn't a virtuoso. I have trouble watching him play....looks like he's choking a snake!
    This outing could have been disasterous, since most players tend to overplay in situations like this.
    This is an example of what I like about Charlie.
    Less is more!
  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003

    Couldn't agree more - listen to that record. Two brilliant bassists, completely different styles - brilliant interplay.

    I have some shows from the Ornette quartet in 1971 [private recordings] - Charlie takes amazing unaccompanied solos on "Song for Che"

    LOL it's national change Talkbass name day!
    Mingusfingus = Alexi David
    ssab67 = Matt Ides
  6. klepto

    klepto Guest

    Nov 10, 2004
    his amazing sense of time and his great feel

    eh.. and his great tone--can't give all of the credit to his exceptional instrument
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    DUDE, EH - who do you listen to, who do you like? Who, to you, does have that "big greatness"? Likewise, how long have you been listening to acoustic jazz? I Know when I first started listening to acoustic jazz (after listening to a LOT of fusion), the first thing that I could hear was VELOCITY. So hearing a player like Neils Henning was very impressive. all those notes. But I really wasn't hearing the notes, I was hearing how fast he played. So if I had heard Charlie play then, I would have missed the depth of his playing.

    As a few folks have said, it's about what players speak to you personally. I would just make sure you're really hearing what it is Charlie has to say before you dismiss it. Get a bunch of different records and transcribe bass lines and solos, see what he's actually doing. Then if you don't dig it, you don't dig it.
    Bear in mind, this guy has a performing and recording career (in jazz) that is over 40 years working with almost everybody who's a major player in this music.
  8. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    Plus, he was there, if you know what I mean. I doubt that Ornette had a real definite idea how the rhythm section was supposed to work in free music, so Haden had to invent it. If you compare his playing to, oh I don't know, Gary Peacock's playing with Albert Ayler at around the same time, in what seems to me to be a similar situation (i.e., what the %^&* do I do with this?), you really get a sense of what Haden is about. Peacock is stunning, awe-inspiring, in his playing, but the music is kind of formless, globs of sound (very melody driven). Haden you hardly notice, but his free music really has a groove. I think they're both great, but so different from each other. Any bassist who aspires to play free owes one of the two of them, or both.
  9. Dudie


    Apr 26, 2004
    Thanks for all good answers. I must say that i`m a bit disappointed at myself for not digging Haden. I mean, i`m absolute a fan of sparse playing and depth. But what i saw on this video yesterday made me wonder.
    To answer Mr. Fuqua about what i mean with "big greatness" is simply that Haden is a very well-known DB-player in the history of Jazz.
    Who i like: impossible question to answer i think. Some Swedish players ( obvious ;) ) that inspired me is Palle danielsson, Anders Jormin and Göran Schelin http://www.goranschelin.com/music.htm ,to name a few.

    Mr Fuqua. YOU sound nice to :)

    I think i must give Haden more time

    / Thanks
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    In addition to all the other stuff, it seems to me that he records really well, too. I can remember first hearing that duo album with Hampton Hawes, and thinking "damn, sounds like the bass is in my living room". All of the Quartet West albums are like that, too.

    Check out his sound on Keith Jarrett's "Death And The Flower". Incredible warmth and richness. He said that was one of his own favorite performances.

    Oh yeah...he's also a very nice guy.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Goran's the only cat I haven't heard, I know of Tomas Franck cause he on a few records with my buddy Jon's brother Doug.

    Anders and Palle sound good, I would say that the thing Charlie brings to the music that they don't is that sense of the history of the instrument in this music. As Marcus illustrates, Charlie was not only playing with the out guys (Ornette, Paul Bley etc.) he was working with all of the West Coast bop players as well (Hampton Hawes, Art Pepper, James Clay etc.).
    I did a master class with Charlie back in 84 and he has a very deep knowledge of playing a swinging propulsive line INSIDE as well as OUTSIDE the changes.

    But like I said, transcribe some stuff. Put it under the microscope see what's actually THERE. You may be pleasantly surprised.
  12. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    This is a great thread.
  13. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
  14. D.W.

    D.W. Guest

    For me, Charlie Haden is one of the great musicians that really transcends his instrument. I think no matter what instrument he was to play (trumpet, piano, etc), you would always imediatley know it was him. He play very simplistic lines, but it's about which notes he choses and where he plays them that so mind blowing.....he's always about the music. That's just my two cents......thanks.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    They were apparently roomates for awhile in LA....
  16. Yes, and both studying with Red Mitchell......some bass history.
  17. I hope someone can help me out. I think I heard on the radio that Charlie Haden's daughter plays electric bass in a fairly popular rock band but I can't remember which. Anyone know?
  18. Hello all, great thread here.

    I am by no means an authority on Charlie's playing, or jazz bass at all, but I really became a fan after hearing an interview with him. I believe it was on "Fresh Air", and may have been taped in the last few years (unless it was a re-broadcast).

    Anyone hear that? It was really good. Charlie's parents apparently had their own radio program (in Missouri, I think). Think it was mostly gospel stuff. So Charlie grew up singing and playing gospel with his family. Then he fell ill, and this impacted his hearing, which apparently caused him to stop singing altogether (although Terry got him to sing a little in the interview). Later, he took up the DB. Imagine the range of music his life has spanned.

    He tells the story of his first gig in NYC with Ornette Coleman. Says he was very nervous and at one point looked up to see Mingus, Chambers, (maybe others I am forgetting) in the audience. Says it pretty much knocked him out!!

  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I know his son plays BG (and at the master class we all got a kick out of seeing a foto Charlie was passing around of himself with his son's BG strapped on), I thought his daughters (Rachel and Petra?) played cello and Something Else.
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not really gospel, more country and western. Think Grand Ole Opry on a regional level.

    I think that was in repsonse to a question about why he closes his eyes when he plays. And as I heard the story, it was just about every bass player in NYC - add Wilbur Ware, Jimmy Garrison, etc etc