Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age like Young

By Francis Davis | Go to book overview

Charlie Haden, Bass

A 1999 issue of the magazine Jazziz featured on its cover a black and white photograph of the bass player Charlie Haden cropped so that the fingerboard and tuning pegs and scroll of his string bass occupied center page, and only the left side of Haden's face, the fingers of his left hand, and his left shoulder were visible. Haden was one of the sidemen with whom the alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman turned jazz upside down at the end of the 1950s. He was a member of the Coleman-alumni band Old and New Dreams from its formation in 1976 (by which point Coleman himself was playing an idiosyncratic brand of funk, in an amplified setting) until its demise, a few years ago. Whenever Coleman unplugs, Haden is still the bass player he is likely to call. But Haden also enjoys a sovereign identity as the leader of two ensembles that are as different from each other as they are from Coleman's bands or anyone else's: the engagé Liberation Music Orchestra, for which Haden and the arranger Carla Bley have written music in solidarity with revolutionary movements, often using actual field recordings as a springboard; and the in-search-of-lost-time Quartet West, whose evocations of film noir and the detective fiction and torch songs of the 1940s and early 1950s heighten nostalgia from the cheapest of emotions into one of the most powerful. (Haden's best-known composition for the LMO is "Song for Ché," an anthem dedicated to a figure who called for a worldwide people's revolution. As if to show that the difference between the bands isn't merely one of size, with Quartet West he has recorded "Lady in the Lake" and "The Long Goodbye," moody numbers written by the band's pianist,

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Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age like Young
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Francis Davis *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Advertisements for Myself xi
  • Part One - Voices *
  • Swin G and Sensibility 3
  • The Great Hoagy 19
  • Not Singing Too Much 27
  • Billie Holiday, Cover Artist 39
  • Betty Carter, for Example 49
  • Part Two - Change of the Century *
  • Bud's Bubble 57
  • The Sound of One Finger Snapping 66
  • Aftershocks 77
  • Taken: the True Story of an Alien Abduction - (A Conversation with Sun Ra) 83
  • Rashaan, Rashaan 94
  • Inward 99
  • A to Z 106
  • Charlie Haden, Bass 116
  • ornette 134
  • The 1970s, Religious and Circus 141
  • Like Young 156
  • In His Father's House 169
  • Leaving behind a Trail 176
  • Some Recordings 186
  • On Stage and Screen 200
  • Part Three - Here and There *
  • Tourist Point of View 219
  • Time Difference 223
  • Part Four - Undercover *
  • Man Lost. Songs Found 235
  • Country vs. Western 242
  • Elvis Presley's Double Consciousness 246
  • Beached 256
  • Everybody's Composer 263
  • The Best Years of Our Lives 281
  • Infamous 297
  • Victim Kitsch 304
  • The Moral of the Story from the Guy Who Knows 316
  • Index 339
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