Reviews that mention Charlie Haden

January 1, 2019

Jazz Worlds/World Jazz

Edited by Philip Bohlman/Goffredo Plastino
University of Chicago Press

By Ken Waxman

From its very beginnings in the African American communities of the 20th century, through is subsequent spread throughout the United States and world-wide, the definition of what constitutes jazz has been as slippery as trying to hold onto a handful of Jell-O. Imagine then the conundrum that exists when the concept of jazz arrives in other counties and takes on other identities as locals players strive to adapt it. This nearly 500-page volume presents the work of 18 academics exploring this interface between jazz and musical cultures in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. MORE

February 11, 2016

Paul Bley

A Modern Jazz Piano Master
By Ken Waxman

Paul Bley who died at 83 in early January was probably never bothered that he was usually described as Canada’s second best-known jazz pianist; Oscar Peterson was the first. But Bley, who shared a Montreal birth with Peterson, and who similarly was honored with induction into the Order of Canada in 2008 – albeit 30 plus years after Peterson – was for all intents and purposes a much more radical pianist than O.P. Peterson, seven years Bley’s senior, was a flamboyant stylist who adapted Art Tatum’s all-encompassing swing era techniques to the structure of modern jazz during an almost incalculable number of performances from the late 1940s until his death in 2007. However Bley, represented on more than 100 discs during his career, cycled through a variety of keyboard strategies from the outgoing to the cerebral, eventually matching the atonality of off-centre techniques with straightforward, melodically measured motion. He was also one of the first serious improvisers to deal with the sonic possibilities that could be extracted from the then brand-new portable Moog synthesizer. Later, such better-known pianists as Keith Jarrett, The Bad Plus’ Ethan Iverson and Satoko Fujii developed their playing following the examples of Bley’s breakthroughs. MORE

September 11, 2014

Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden

Last Dance
ECM 2399

By Ken Waxman

Prescient by happenstance, Last Dance had just been released when double bassist Charlie Haden died from the effects of post-polio syndrome at 76 on July 11. Actually recorded in 2007, this nine-track recital, featuring Haden’s and pianist Keith Jarrett’s reimaging of jazz and American songbook classics, demonstrates only one aspect of the bass master’s skills. His evolutionary recasting of his instrument’s role in the music, defined during his membership in Ornette Coleman’s barrier-breaking quartet, and his political commitment, expressed by his leadership of the aptly named Liberation Music Orchestra can be researched elsewhere. MORE