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Farewell: Charlie Haden

8.6.37–7.11.14

Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden and Jim Hall
Charlie Haden in Germany in 1972

My early bass influences were guys like Ray Brown, Ron Carter and Paul Chambers, but after high school I simultaneously got into Charlie and Dave Holland. They played quite differently from each other, but I was amazed by the sound, the concepts, the depth of their focus and the depth of their interpretation of the music that each was involved in. They both had instantly identifiable sounds, but they were quite opposite in the way they touched the bass. Charlie played light but got this big sound. Both were very valid and incredibly interesting, and I wanted to incorporate their approaches into what would one day become my sound.

With Charlie, what blew me away was how he remained a folk musician. In the way that blues musicians are folk musicians, Charlie maintained a deep folkloric element in his playing, and when he played those slow-moving solos, they were almost like beautiful nursery rhymes-just gorgeous melodies that were so clear. There was no posturing or trying to impress people. He was very concise, and he was very mature in the way he expressed himself. Each note was crafted and delivered with a lot of emotion. It was straight-up soul.

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