The influential jazz player died in July at the age of 76.
A large and loving gathering of friends and family honored late bassist Charlie Haden with a memorial on Tuesday night (Jan. 13), bringing together a bevy of heartfelt remembrances, music and song at New York's Town Hall. The free event was hosted by Haden's wife Ruth Cameron Haden along with support from family and friends like Pat Metheny, Henry Butler, Geri Allen, Brad Mehldau and Bill Frisell. Haden died in July at the age of 76, and was one of the most influential bass players of his generation, anchoring saxophonist Ornette Coleman's original quartet in the late 1950s and playing a crucial role in pianist Keith Jarrett's "American Quartet" through the 1970s.
Haden was a perennial hipster and recovering drug addict who was also an incredibly unifying player, bridging the East Coast and West Coast jazz scenes as well as befriending, collaborating and educating several generations of gifted musicians. Ruth Haden, acknowledging Haden's lifelong struggles, quoted her husband as saying, "When I put the bass down, I'm in trouble."
Guitarist Metheny performed a solo acoustic medley of Haden's music and spoke of their deep relationship, how they both came from Missouri, and the countless gigs they'd played together over the years. Drummer Denardo Coleman spoke earnestly about Haden's devotion to his father Ornette, and the groundbreaking music they'd created in spite of great resistance at the time. Pianist Henry Butler, who'd sang at Charlie and Ruth Haden's wedding thirty years ago, put his grand, opera-trained voice into a emotionally powerful rendition of "Deep River."